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Ay, of all the artists living, . . . 
None but would forego his proper dowry, — 
Does he paint? he fain would write a poem, — 
Does he write? he fain would paint a picture. 
Put to proof art alien to the artist's. 

Browning's One Word More 


First published 1936 

Reprinted 1967 with permission of 
Cambridge University Press 


Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 67-129" 





"may be said to have formed my mind, 

and to have brushed off from it 

a deal of rubbish." 


Preface ...... 

page ix 

Introduction ...... 

xiii ' 

Chap, I. Education . . . . . 


II. At the Feet of his Oracle 


III. Debut 


IV. Recognition Abroad 


V. Critic of Art . . . , 


VI. Critic of Literature 


VII. The Library of a Painter 


VIII. The Making of the Z)/j^(?/^n^i . 

128 ^ 

IX. Johnsoniana .... 


X. Age and Infirmities 

. 173 

Appendix I. Sir Joshua^s Reading Notes 


II. The 'Discourses in Embryo . 


III. Sir Joshua^s y^/)o/(?^/^ . 


IV. Bibliography of Sir Joshua's Writ- 

ings .... 

. 277 

Index ...... 

. 301 


Part of the Eleventh Discourse^ in Sir Joshua's hand- 
writing, with corrections by Samuel Johnson . facing 135 

Part of fair copy of the Fifteenth Discourse in Mary 
Palmer's handwriting, corrected by Sir Joshua . facing 181 


To write of the founder of the EngHsh school of painting, 
avoiding as far as possible any reference to his pictures, 
will undoubtedly provoke criticism. In Sir Joshua's day 
a prominent bishop remarked *'that Mallet in his Life 
of Bacon had forgotten that he was a philosopher; and if 
he should write the Life of the Duke of Marlborough, 
which he had undertaken to do, he would probably forget 
that he was a General".^ Similar charges have been 
directed at several modern biographies of poets in which 
poetry receives but scant notice. 

Were there no good books dealing with Sir Joshua's 
portraits and his career as an artist, such a study as this 
would be inexcusable. But the case is otherwise. In 
spite of minor inaccuracies, the biography by Leslie and 
Taylor, published in 1865, still remains the standard 
work on the subject. And there have been more than 
fifty other lives of the painter, of which those by Claude 
Phillips, Sir Walter Armstrong, and William B. Boulton 
are noteworthy. Whoever wishes to read of Reynolds 
the painter will have no difficulty in procuring the proper 

The object of this study is to present but a single phase 
of Sir Joshua's life — a phase which though not the most 
important, nevertheless merits our attention. Bacon the 

^ Boswell's Life, iii, 194. 


courtier and Marlborough the politician are figures not 
without significance to students of their respective 
periods, and the literary aspirations and achievements 
of the first president of the Royal Academy shed addi- 
tional light on the Johnsonian age. Sir Joshua as he 
appears in these pages is seen in his off-hours, out of his 
studio. He is the man, rather than the artist. 

The book is based largely on Sir Joshua's manuscripts 
preserved in the Royal Academy, and it is with pleasure 
that I here acknowledge my indebtedness to the secre- 
tary, Mr W. R. M./Lamb, to the librarian, Mr Wright, 
and to the registrar, Mr Tanner, who have repeatedly 
shown themselves obliging and helpful. Mr W. Roberts, 
learning that I was interested in the handwriting of 
Charles Gill, a pupil of Sir Joshua's, generously gave me 
one of Gill's letters ; the Dowager Lady Harcourt allowed 
me to view the Reynolds material at Nuneham, and her 
secretary. Miss Philip, sent me additional information 
of a bibliographical nature; Dr George Lauder Green- 
way put at my disposal his collation of Sir Joshua's Dis- 
courses \ Dr Allen T. Hazen supplied me with important 
bibliographical notes; and the staffs of the British 
Museum, the Harvard College Library, and the Yale 
University Library have, as usual, greatly facilitated 
my researches. Among the many who have patiently 
answered my questions, I should mention Dr R. W. 
Chapman, Dr Robin Flower, and Prof. Frederick A. 
Pottle. I have adopted a number of suggestions offered 
by Dr L. F. Powell, who has read the work in manuscript. 
The index has been prepared by Mr P. B. Daghlian. 
I also wish to express my indebtedness to the American 


Council of Learned Societies, from whom I received 
a generous grant which enabled me to undertake my 

Throughout this study, when including transcripts 
from manuscripts or printed books, I have attempted 
to adhere scrupulously to the original, even in such 
details as spelling and punctuation. Hence what may 
seem to be a misprint in this book is in all probability 
an accurate transcript of the text to which reference is 
made. When giving references, I have normally men- 
tioned the author's name, the title of the book, and the 
edition which I have used. But the following books 
have been drawn upon so extensively that I have adopted 
abbreviations for them : 

Boswell's Life — Boswell's Life of Johnson, edited by G. B. Hill, 
revised and enlarged edition by L. F. Powell, in six volumes. 
Oxford, 1934. [References to volumes v and vi, not yet 
published, are to the original edition, Oxford, 1887.] 

Boswell Papers — Private Papers of James Boswellfrom Malahide 
Castle in the Collection of Lieut -Colonel Ralph Heyward 
Isham. Prepared for the press by Geoffrey Scott and Fred- 
erick A. Pottle, in nineteen volumes. New York, 1929- 

Cotton's Gleanings — Sir Joshua Reynolds, and His IVorks. 
Gleanings from his Diary, unpublished Manuscripts, and from 
other Sources. By William Cotton. London, 1856. 

Cotton's Notes — Sir Joshua Reynolds' Notes and Observations 
on Pictures, edited by William Cotton. London, 1859. 

Farington's Diary — The Farington Diary, edited by James Greig, 
in eight volumes. London, 1 922-1 928. 


Graves and Cronln — A History of the Works of Sir Joshua 
Reynolds, P.R.J., by Algernon Graves and William Vine 
Cronin, in four volumes. London, 1 899-1 901. 

Johnsonian Miscellanies — Johnsonian Miscellanies, arranged and 
edited by G. B. Hill, in two volumes. Oxford, 1897. 

Leslie and Taylor — Life and Times of Sir Joshua Reynolds, com- 
menced by Charles Robert Leslie, continued and concluded 
by Tom Taylor, in two volumes. London, 1865. 

Letters — Letters of Sir Joshua Reynolds, edited by F. W. Hilies. 
Cambridge, 1929. 

Northcote — The Life of Sir Joshua Reynolds, by James Northcote 
(the second edition, revised and augmented), in two volumes. 
London, 1818. [Some imprints give 18 19, but the pagina- 
tion is identical.] 

Sir Joshua^ s Nephew — Sir Joshua^ s Nephew, edited by Susan M. 
Radcliffe. London, 1930. 

Whitley — Artists and their Friends in England 1 700— 1799, by 
W. T. Whitley, in two volumes. London & Boston, 1928. 

Works — The Works of Sir Joshua Reynolds . . ,To which is pre- 
fixed an Account of the Life and Writings of the Author, by 
Edmond Malone (the second edition corrected), in three 
volumes. London, 1798. 

Sir Joshua's pocket-books, which are frequently mentioned 
in the following pages, contain his social engagements and 
appointments for sitters. The volume for 1755, overlooked by 
Graves and Cronin, is in the Cottonian Collection in the 
Plymouth Museum. The Royal Academy possesses those for 
1757-1762, 1764-1773, 1777, 1779-1782, 1784, 1786-1790. 

F. W. H. 

March 1936 



"Sir Joshua is indeed sufficiently puffed up with the Credit he has 
acquired for his written Discourses, a Praise he is more pleased 
with than that he obtains by his Profession." Thraliana. 

In 1899 there was sold at auction a manuscript in the 
handwriting of Sir Joshua Reynolds, consisting of four 

Not only bounded to peculiar Arts, 

But oft in those confined to single parts; 

Like Kings we lose the conquest[s] gained before, 

By vain ambition still to make them more. 

History is silent as to why these lines were copied by the 
artist. That he was fond of Pope will not suffice as an 
explanation. Presumably he copied them because in 
them he found succinctly expressed what he himself had 
thought. The poet is arguing that 

One science only will one genius fit; 
So vast is art, so narrow human wit.^ 

Why should this idea have particularly appealed to Sir 
Joshua ? 

When one wished to flatter Frederick the Great, he 
was praised not for his success on the field of battle nor 
for his powers of organization, but for his good taste in 
the fine arts or his abilities as a writer. ''When Michael 
Angelo proposed to fortify his native city, Florence, and 
he was desired to keep to his painting and sculpture, he 

^ Essa-j on Criticism, i, 60 et seq. For Sir Joshua's transcript see 
Sotheby's catalogue for the sale held 1 8 February, 1 899. 


answered, that those were his recreations, but what he 
really understood was architecture."^ Once when Dr 
Johnson, who thought hunting '*no diversion at all", 
was riding on the downs near Brighton, one of the party- 
shouted: "Why Johnson rides as well, for aught I see, 
as the most illiterate fellow in England." Mrs Piozzi, 
who related the anecdote, thought that "no praise ever 
went so close to his heart ".^ 

Instances of this human trait could be multiplied with- 
out much difficulty, but for our purposes one other should 
be mentioned. After he had achieved fame as an actor, 
John Kemble wrote some verses which he intended to 
dedicate to Sir Joshua. After reading them to him, he 
asked for an opinion, and Reynolds, little impressed, 
tried to extricate himself from an embarrassing position 
by remarking: "I can scarcely pass my judgment on the 
poem ; you have read it so extraordinary well, that per- 
haps any poetry so read would appear fine." Anything 
but pleased with this comment, the actor resolved to 
address his verses to someone else. "To compliment any 
man on those particular talents which the world has 
acknowledged he possesses", adds the canny Northcote, 
from whom the story derives, "is to him but faint praise, 
especially when he pants for fame in another department ; 
as it has been observed of Cardinal Richlieu, that those 
who wished to gain his favour succeeded best when they 
pretended to be enraptured with his poetry, and said 
nothing of his political powers." 3 

In his day Sir Joshua was considered by some people 
as the greatest painter of all time, and throughout his life 
he was passionately devoted to his profession; but to 
be thought nothing but a painter dissatisfied him. Re- 

^ Hazlitt's Conversations of James Northcote, London, 1 830, 90 ^/ seq. 
^ Johnsonian Miscellanies, i, 288. 

3 Northcote, ii, 243. The incident is recorded also in Farington's 
Diary (vi, 80). 


peatedly he indicated his contempt for the man who was 
a painter and nothing more. And he practised what he 
preached. When he was out of his studio, he associated 
not with painters but with men of letters. His closest 
friends were those whose careers were literary, and in 
their society he was filled with a desire to emulate them. 
As a result he is said to have left at his death at least two 
thousand manuscript pages^ — essays for periodicals, 
criticism on art for his Discourses^ notes on Shakespeare 
for his friends Johnson, Malone, or Steevens, a jeu 
<^Vj;/)nV illustrating with all Boswell's skill Dr Johnson's 
powers of conversation, a sort of Apologia Pro Vita Sua 
occasioned by his quarrel with the Academy, fragmen- 
tary thoughts on the French Revolution, and biographical 
sketches of some of his friends. By profession a painter, 
his ambition, particularly near the end of his life, was to 
be considered an equally proficient writer. He had that 
not unnatural dislike of being "bounded to peculiar 

In a measure this ambition of his was realized. Dedi- 
cating The Deserted Village to him in 1770, Goldsmith 
wrote: "You can gain nothing from my admiration, as 
I am ignorant of that art in which you are said to excel, 
and I may lose much by the severity of your judgment, as 
few have a juster taste in poetry than you." Twenty-two 
years before his death, then. Sir Joshua was proclaimed 
in public as a literary critic. In 1791 Boswell, dedicating 
his magnum opus to him, could say, ' ' in perfect confidence 
of not being accused of flattery " : " Your excellence, not 
only in the Art over which you have long presided with 
unrivalled fame, but also in Philosophy and elegant 
Literature, is well known to the present, and will con- 
tinue to be the admiration of future ages." Had Boswell 
omitted the reference to philosophy and elegant litera- 
ture, Sir Joshua could hardly have derived as much 
^ Cotton's G leanings, 208. 


pleasure from the dedication. A few weeks after the 
Life oj Johnson appeared in print, Sir Joshua significantly 
remarked: **A man is most successfully flattered by 
being supposed to possess virtues to which he has the 
least pretensions.'*^ 

Certainly Sir Joshua was thus flattered on many 
occasions. In the British Museum are manuscript verses 
written in 1777 at the Bedford Cofl^ee House, Covent 
Garden, entitled On the transcendent Merit of SIR 
JOSHUA RET MOLD S President of the royal Academy of 
Painting as a Writer^ and a Painter? They are perhaps 
worth printing here because they are typical of the 
praise generally accorded him at the time. 

Learned in two Languages^ had long been thought 
The highest Compliment that cou'd be wrought 
To praise Maecenas Patron of the Muse^; 
Horace' Authority who'd dare refuse? — 
A greater Ornament can England boast; 
Pronounce Ye Critics, who excels the most — 
REYNOLDS th'APELLES of our modern Days, 
Shines forth superior, tho in different ways; 
Has of two Arts attain'd the lawrel'd Heights; 
Paints with a Pen, and with a Pencil Writes! 

This effusion may have been inspired by the fact that 
Sir Joshua was then preparing to publish in one volume 
his first seven discourses. On these and the remaining 
discourses his fame as a writer was based. Because of 
them a contributor to the Gentleman s Magazine felt 
justified in applying to him the phrase ''Scriptor multo 
elegantissimus " ; because of them a prominent physician 
of the day could write : "nobody will ever bear away the 
palm from him, as an elegant writer on the art he pro- 

' Letters, 222. ^ Add. MSS. 36,596, f. 208. 

3 Footnote in MS.: doctus utriusque Linguae. 
'^ Footnote in MS.: Musis Amicus. 


fessed.'* One of his most pronounced enemies could 
speak of his ** literary, I might say, classical talents", and 
a clergyman of the day could write : * ' His language is as 
simple as just; and as beautifully varied as his outline; 
and as free from coarseness and false glare as his colour- 
ing; — ^he writes like a philosopher as well as an artist".^ 

That he valued this reputation is certain. After the 
first volume of the Life of Johnson had been set up in 
print, Boswell was forced to cancel a page because in it 
he had hinted that the Dedication to the King^ prefixed to 
Sir Joshua's Discourses , was written by Johnson. Al- 
though the dedication is characteristically Johnsonian, 
Sir Joshua shrank from admitting to the world that he 
had not written it himself. There seems to be but one 
possible interpretation of such an action. 

Even while the discourses were being composed there 
were whisperings to the effect that a mere painter of 
portraits, a man who had none of the advantages of 
education which Oxford or Cambridge supplied, could 
never have written the polished lectures which were 
delivered every year or two in the Academy. It was 
common knowledge that Sir Joshua painted in his studio 
from nine until five, making the most of the daylight, 
leaving his work only to attend a sale of pictures or prints. 
It was equally well known that his evenings were spent 
in society, at one of his many clubs or at a conversazione 
presided over by Mrs Montagu, Mrs Vesey, or Miss 
Monckton. A man who was thus occupied, it must be 
confessed, had little time for reading or writing. Hence 
the suspicion arose that the Discourses, admittedly ex- 
cellent of their kind, were composed not by their avowed 
author, but by someone else. And in this case, since his 
closest friends were Johnson and Burke, the Discourses 

^ Gentleman's Magazine, Ixxxiii, 1,415; The JVorks of James Barry ^ 
London, 1809, i, 281, 556; John Williams's Authentic History of the 
Professors of Painting, etc., London, 1796, 16 n. 


were generally considered to be the work of the one or 
the other. 

Had he allowed Boswell to write **stet" on the page 
which was cancelled, Sir Joshua might well have in- 
creased rather than lessened his literary reputation. 
Boswell had written that Johnson was the author of the 
dedication of Percy's Reliques of ancient English Poetry, 

* * It should not be wondered at * *, he had continued, * * that 
one who can himself write so well as Dr. Percy, should 
accept of a Dedication from Johnson's pen; for as Sir 
Joshua Reynolds, who we shall afterwards see accepted 
of the same kind of assistance, well observed to me, 

* Writing a dedication is a knack. It is like writing an 
advertisement ' . "^ The revised passage is worth quoting, 
showing as it does that Boswell was well aware of Sir 
Joshua's reasoning. **Some of these, the persons who 
were favoured with them are unwilling should be men- 
tioned, from a too anxious apprehension, as I think, that 
they might be suspected of having received larger assist- 
ance".^ Had Reynolds been willing to confess that he 
had not written the dedication, many of the sceptics 
would have been silenced, for it is there more than any- 
where else that the hand of the Great Cham is noticeable. 
By attempting to conceal this fact. Sir Joshua furnished 
his detractors with an argument which though fallacious 
was nevertheless convincing to many. 

One other example may be given to show Sir Joshua's 
unwillingness to admit that he had been helped by his 
friend. While composing one of his later discourses, he 
wrote ; 

May I . . . mention as an instance of the truth of what I have 
remarked, the very Discourses w^hich I have had the honour of 
delivering from this place. Whatever merit they have, must be 
imputed, in a great measure, to the education which I may be 
said to have had under Dr. Johnson. I do not mean to say, 

^ Boswell's Life J iv, 555 et seq. ^ Id. ii, 2. 


though it certainly would be to the credit of these Discourses, 
if I could say it with truth, that he contributed even a single 
sentiment to them; but he qualified my mind to think 

This passage, which Malone printed in order to prove 
that Johnson had written none of the Discourses^ was 
suppressed by Sir Joshua, as if the admission that he had 
been thus educated would outweigh the positive declara- 
tion that he had not received a single sentiment from his 

Such was Sir Joshua's policy, which in itself should be 
sufficient proof that he wished to be thought a man of 
letters. Browning tells us but a half truth when he asserts 
that it was to honour their ladies that Dante and Raphael 
**put to proof art alien to the artist's". Tradition has it 
that Hogarth tried his hand at sculpture, but it was not 
for love that he did this; it was for a wager. At the same 
time and for the same reason his friend Roubiliac is said 
to have painted a picture.^ In Sir Joshua's case the desire 
for literary fame was merely the normal ambition common 
to mankind — the desire to be considered no mere crafts- 
man with a narrowed vision, but a cultured gentleman, 
eminent in more than one field. In spite of Pope, in 
erring reason's spite, he sought to free himself from the 
bounds of his peculiar art. 

And it would have given him no little satisfaction to 
have been told that in the course of the century and a half 
immediately following his death, his Discourses were to 
be reprinted on an average of once every three years. He 
would have been pleased to know that almost as much 
space is accorded him in the Oxford Book of English Prose 
as to his contemporaries who devoted their lives to 
writing. He would have felt, to use his own phrase, a 

* Works, i, xxix et seq. Probably written when revising the twelfth 

^ Whitley, i, 92. 


*' self-congratulation'* in knowing that fifteen years after 
his death a group of gentlemen were discussing various 
styles of writing 

and after much had been said, it was allowed by all present that 
Sir Joshua Reynolds, in His Lectures, wrote with more purity 
& simplicity than any other modern writer, & might for the ex- 
cellence of His style in that respect be compared with Addison; — 
having clearness, ease, and no affectation.^ 

^ Farington's Diary y iv, 173. Malone characterized Sir Joshua's style 
as "perspicuous, elegant, and nervous". {Works, i, xliii.) 



'* I remember it used to be a continul subject of Discourse of 
my Fathers when he discoursed of Education not to be in 
too great a hurry to show oneself to the world but to lay 
in first as strong foundation as possible first of knowledge 
& learning." Florentine sketch-book. 

Scribbled in pencil on the fly-leaf of a vellum-bound 
notebook in the British Museum is the singularly 
awkward sentence printed above. The writing is that of 
Joshua Reynolds, then twenty-seven years old and an 
eager student of painting in Italy. The misspelling, the 
clumsy phraseology, the deference to authority, the 
grain of common sense which it contains are eminently 
characteristic of him. But the excerpt has been quoted 
for another reason. It is almost the only sentence extant 
in which he comments on the education he received. 

Samuel Reynolds, whose discourses on education 
made a lasting impression on his distinguished son, was 
a thoroughly lovable character. The son of a Vicar of 
Exeter, he had resided in Oxford for thirteen years, 
where he was a scholar of Corpus and later a fellow of 
Balliol. Here he counted among his friends at least two 
men who later became prominent in literary circles. One 
of these, as has often been pointed out, was the gentle 
Edward Young, author of Night Thoughts. The other 
was that amazing quack, George Psalmanaazaar, who 
had been sent to Oxford to teach the ''Formosan'* 
language (his own invention) to prospective mission- 
aries. Samuel Reynolds must have been impressed with 


the religiosity of this ** Japanese", and his unusually- 
gullible nature would have prevented him from seeing 
through the tricks of the impostor.^ 

Leaving Oxford in 1 7 1 1 in order to marry, Samuel 
was offered a living worth ;^7oo a year, which his brother 
John persuaded him to refuse, * * because ' ', said he, ' ' Sam 
would not like the situation of the Living, it was too much 
in the World ".^ Consequently he took his bride to 
Plympton, in Devonshire, where he became Master of the 
Grammar School. One of his grand-daughters was to 
write that he **had no knowledge of the World, or value 
of money. I have heard my Mother say that if he wished 
for an expensive book he always purchased it, altho' he 
could so ill afford it." We know from the published 
fragments of his letters that these books usually pertained 
to medicine and metaphysics, but he devoured as well 
political pamphlets, sermons of his friend Dr Mudge, 
and the poetry of Pope. A man of marked scholarly 
interests, he was famous in his district for his absent- 
mindedness. Once, when proceeding on horseback to 
the home of a neighbour, he lost a gambado, a sort of 
riding-boot. When his attention was called to this, ** Bless 
me!" said he, "it is very true, but I am sure that I had 
them both when I set out from home. "3 

His guilelessness and his eccentricities caused him to 
be likened to Parson Adams, and many a story has been 
handed down which stresses his peculiarities. But as so 

^ This friendship is brought to light in two letters written in 1705 
and 1706 by Psalmanaazaar to Reynolds. The first of these is in the 
collection of Prof. Chauncey Brewster Tinker; the second is in my 

^ This and similar extracts are from the MS. commonplace book of 
Mary Johnson, which was kindly lent to me by her descendant, Miss 
Susan M. RadclifFe, editor of Sir Joshua s Nephew. Letters of Samuel 
Reynolds are published in Cotton's Gleanings (43-62) and in Leslie and 
Taylor (i, 1 5-28, 467-9). Copies of these letters are among the Reynolds 
MSS. in the Royal Academy. 

3 Northcote, i, 25. 


often happens with eccentric people, he is represented 
as having been more erratic than in all probability he was. 
Mr Boulton, for example, in what is the best brief bio- 
graphy of Sir Joshua, is guilty of several Macaulayisms 
when dealing with his subject's father. ''He would give 
away his last half-guinea to 'Bamfylde Moore Carew, 
King of the Gypsies',. . .He dipped into medicine and 
anatomy, and would produce skulls to illustrate his re- 
searches at the lectures which he gave to his children on 
those subjects."^ The use of ''would" suggests that 
these actions were habitual with him. In the source 
these statements are less sweeping. Sir Joshua's sister 
Elizabeth remembered her father once "giving to the 
famous (gipsy) Bamflyde \stc\ Carew half a guinea, which 
was (her Mother said) all the money they had in the 
world. He was a learned man & at times would call in his 
children into his study & give them lectures on different 
subjects, once she remembered the lecture was on a 
human skull which he had procured for the purpose." 

Like many another in his profession, he was the author 
of a number of tracts on diverse subjects. We know that 
he wrote on the gout, and that he was the author as well 
of a Theological Chronology. But his writings have dis- 
appeared. Some of his sayings, however, have been pre- 
served, which show him to have had his share of worldly 
wisdom. "If you take too much care of yourself. Nature 
will cease to take care of you" is a sample. Another — 
"The great principle of being happy in this world is, 
not to mind or be affected with small things" — ^was 
preached and practised in later years by his famous son.^ 
And although Joshua was to write that he had never 
put much faith in the efficacy of precepts, much of his 
philosophy of life may be traced directly to the teachings 
of his father. 

^ W. B. Boulton's Sir Joshua Reynolds, London, 1905, 5 et seq. 
^ Leslie and Taylor, i, 7 n. Cf. Letters, 5 5 . 


In one respect father and son differed decidedly. 
Samuel, having no worldly ambition, lived a happy life 
dabbling in astrology, anatomy, theology, philosophy, 
pharmacology, and various other -ologies and -osophies 
dear to the heart of a scholar. The son was interested in 
such subjects, but subordinated what he felt was of less 
importance to his own development. Years later, while 
conversing with his pupil Northcote, Sir Joshua re- 
marked: '*He who would arrive at eminence in his pro- 
fession should confine his whole attention to that alone, 
and not do as many very sensible men have done, who 
spend their time in acquiring a smattering and general 
kind of knowledge of every science, by which their 
powers become so much divided, that they were not 
masters of any one." ''That", said Northcote hastily, 
"is exactly my own father." "And it was mine also", 
replied Reynolds.^ 

Nevertheless, the fact that Samuel's tastes were so 
catholic had a wholesome effect upon his children and 
must have been at least partly responsible for Mary's 
Devonshire Dialogue^ for Fanny's untiring attempts at 
writing and painting, and for Joshua's leanings towards 
philosophic speculation. In later years Sir Joshua was 
fond of discussing "the Advantages of Early Habits", 
and, thanks to his father, he early formed the habit of 
studious industry. 

His formal education was limited to the narrow curri- 
culum of the Plympton Grammar School. Some traces 
are still in evidence of his progress in the classics. An 
exercise "De Lahore" is in the Royal Academy, and one 
of his collateral descendants is the possessor of a well- 
thumbed and annotated copy oi Ovid, inscribed ' ' Joshua 
Reynolds, begun in the 2nd book, at vix equidem fauces 
haec ipsa in verba resolvo'\ According to Tom Taylor, 
"Its fly-leaves are written over with notes about Bacchus, 
^ Northcote, ii, 50. 


Ino, Semele, and Harmonia, 'the Destinies, and such 
branches of learning';. . .There is an elaborate etymo- 
logical note, too, on the derivation of 'Ileon or Ileum', 
transcribed, probably, from some lexicon, and including 
some well-formed Greek characters."^ 

But the major part of his education he acquired outside 
of school. In his father's library the boy found at least 
four books which influenced him in choosing his pro- 
fession. At the age of eight, we are told, he happened 
to pick up a copy of the Jesuit's Perspective^ a book which 
he found on the window-seat in the parlour. This "he 
read with great avidity and pleasure", and much to his 
father's astonishment he soon proved that he had digested 
it as well.^ We are also told that he used to copy Dutch 
engravings from Jacob Cats's Book of Emblems^ two large 
folios which Samuel had inherited from his mother. 
Another book on painting, which later found its way 
into Joshua's own library, was Felibien's Tent of Darius 
Explained^ an English translation by one William Par- 
sons, inscribed "Samuel Reynolds e Plympton" and 
later autographed by Joshua. 3 But the volume which, 
the painter told Dr Johnson, influenced him the most at 
this time was Jonathan Richardson's Essay on the Theory 
of Paintings a work that must have stimulated the boy to 
pick up other books which the schoolmaster, "altho' he 
could so ill afford it", was in the habit of buying. ^ 
According to Richardson, a painter must know the 
history "of all ages and all nations", he must be a poet 
as well, and he must "understand Anatomy, Osteology, 
Geometry, Perspective, Architecture, and many other 

^ Leslie and Taylor, ii, 162 n. A brief historical sketch of the school 
is given in Cotton's Some Account of. . . Plympton, London, 1859. 

^ Works, i, vii. 

3 Library of the Fine Arts, London, 1831, i, 41 et seq. 

'^ Johnson's Lives of the English Poets, ed. Hill, Oxford, 1905, 
i, 2. Cotton {Gleanings, 35-41) prints pertinent passages from 


sciences which the Historian or Poet has little occasion 
to know*'. 

With Richardson as an inspiration the boy entered 
upon a course of reading which makes absurd the im- 
putation that he received an inferior sort of education. 
His father encouraged him by presenting him with a 
commonplace book in which he entered extracts from 
many of the books he read. Tom Taylor notes that the 
great majority of these extracts "indicate a decided turn 
for the calm, sensible, equable, and kindly, in life and 
manners. The extracts are (on life and morals) from 
Theophrastus, Plutarch, Seneca, Marcus Antoninus ; (on 
criticism and for poetry) Pope (a great favourite, especially 
in his letters), Shakespeare, Milton, Dryden, the 'Spec- 
tator ' and ' Tatler \ Cats's * Book of Emblems ', and even 
Afra Behn; (in art) Leonardo da Vinci, Du Fresnoy, 
and Richardson; and (in religious matters) Nelson and 
the Bible, Ecclesiasticus chiefly."^ Years later Sir 
Joshua was to write that 

Isaiah was allways my favorite Book of the old Testament, from 
having often read it, I had retained a great part of it by heart 
without any such intention at the time, but rememberd it in the 
same manner and for the same reason I did Miltons Paradise lost, 
which I never should have done if either of them had been in 

The extracts from Plutarch undoubtedly derived from 
the translation attributed to Dryden, for Sir Joshua told 
Malone that as a child he used to copy the prints which 
illustrated this edition of the Lives, ^ The Tatler h.^ seems 
to have read in its original form. Presumably his father 
had subscribed to it when at Oxford and had caused the 
single leaves to be bound up together in one large folio. 
In any case such a volume, autographed by Sir Joshua, 
was sold at Sotheby's 31 July, 1929. 

' Leslie and Taylor, i, 467. ^ Letters, 65. 

3 Works, i, vii. 


Enough has been presented to suggest that Joshua^s 
education had not entirely been neglected. But in a 
discussion of this sort one other influence on him must 
be mentioned. According to Edmund Burke, Reynolds 
himself attributed his love of generalizing to his contact 
with Zachariah Mudge, one of his father's friends. 
Burke wrote to Malone that Sir Joshua's ''acquaintance 
with the Mudges ought to be reckoned among the 
earliest of his literary connexions", and in notes which 
he drew up for Malone shortly before his death he sup- 
plemented this statement with the following fragment : 

I believe his early acquaintance with Mr. Mudge, of Exeter, 
a very learned & thinking [man] & much inclined to Philosophy 
in the spirit of the Platonists, disposed him to this habit [of 
generalizing]. He certainly by that means liberalised in an high 
degree the Theory of his own Art; & if he had been more 
methodically instructed in the early part of his life, if he had 
possessed more leisure for Study & reflexion, he would, in my 
opinion, have pursued this method with great success.^ 

This passage is important not only because it indicates 
the source of Joshua's early love of abstractions, but also 
because, in the opinion of Burke, his early tuition lacked 
method. The same charge is made by James Northcote. 

Young Reynolds is said to have been for some time instructed 
in the classics by his father, who was very assiduous in cultivating 
the minds of his children; but as it is known that the son did not 
display any proofs of classical attainments in the earlier part of 
his life, it is most probable that the mass of general knowledge, 
by which he was at a later period so eminently distinguished, was 
the result of much studious application in his riper years.~ 

The verdict seems to be, then, that although the boy was 
not a brilliant scholar and was not as methodically 
instructed as he might have been, he received from his 

^ Inaccurately printed in Leslie and Taylor, ii, 638 n. The originals 
of Burke's letter and notes are in the Victoria and Albert Museum 
(Forster Collection, F. 48. D. 2, folios 22 et seg.). 

^ Northcote, i, 9 et seq. 


studious father and his father's studious friends an educa- 
tion which must have made up in breadth what it lacked 
in depth. We may safely assume that when he went up to 
London at the age of seventeen to learn the art of paint- 
ing, he was at least more cultured than the average boy 
of his age. 

It is unlikely that ** young Reynolds" spent much of 
his time over books while in London. Indeed, judging 
from what he later preached to his pupils, he must have 
occupied himself almost entirely with his brush and 
palette. We know that his master, Thomas Hudson, 
introduced him to a club made up of the most eminent 
artists in England. We know that when not in such 
society he associated with the not-yet-inf-^.mous John 
Wilkes and kindred spirits who lived in the neighbour- 
hood of Lincoln's Inn Fields, a society not conducive to 
study. And when he returned to Devonshire on his 
father's death and settled in Plymouth, he was not, 
according to his own story, occupied in self-improvement. 
**When he recollected this period of his life", wrote 
Malone, "he always spoke of it as so much time thrown 
away, (so far as related to a knowledge of the world and 
of mankind,) of which he ever afterwards lamented the 

Fortunately this lethargy was soon dispelled. In May, 
1749, when he was in his twenty-sixth year, he sailed 
with Keppel to the Mediterranean, stopping en route 
at Cadiz, Lisbon, and ' ' Gibralter ' ', seeing * ' bull feasts ' ', 
a procession of Corpus Christi, and a civilization which 
must have been particularly fascinating to a young man 
who had passed his entire life in Devonshire and London. 
While on the ship he spent much of his time reading, 
making use of the Commodore's well-chosen library.^ 
At length, on the 23rd of August he arrived at Port 
Mahon on the island of Minorca, where Keppel left him. 
^ PForh, i, ix ei seq. ^ Letters, 5, 7. 


Here he remained for five months as the guest of General 
Blakeney, who was in command of the English garrison 
on the island. Recently I have acquired a sheet of reading 
notes in Reynolds's hand, which for the first time enables 
us to determine definitely the duration of his visit. Along 
the margin of the first page he has recorded: *'Jan 25^^ 
1750 we sat out from Mahon."^ Because of this annota- 
tion it is probable that the extracts on this sheet of 
writing-paper were the result of reading done while in 
Minorca or perhaps while sailing from Port Mahon to 
Italy. The writing is identical with that in the letters he 
sent at this time to Miss Weston. 

And what was it that he was reading ? Not Roderick 
Random^ Clarissa^ Tom Jones ^ any of which he might have 
secured before leaving England. These the serious- 
minded young painter would have considered at this 
period of his life a waste of time. Novels, he thought, 
gave the reader *' very little real knowledge of life". ^ He 
was intent upon educating himself, and the notes he took 
are for that reason, if for no other, worth examining. 
They indicate that he was reading the letters of the 
younger Pliny — not in Latin, but in Melmoth's trans- 
lation, which had been published four years earlier. 
Many of the extracts are nothing more than word-for- 
word transcriptions of Melmoth's notes. Years later, 
when Sir Joshua was entertaining a number of his dis- 
tinguished friends at dinner. Gibbon praised this trans- 
lation, ** which he thought better than the original, for all 
that was valuable was preserved, without his quaintness. 
Burke agreed, and said that Pliny was very ostentatious 
and made the most of all the taste and all the virtue he 
had. "3 Boswell, the recorder, is silent as to their host's 

^ He has altered "sat out" to "saild". The reading notes are printed 
in full in Appendix I {post, pp. 201 et seq.). 
^ Posty pp. 151^/ seq. 
3 Boswell Papers, xvii, 94. 


opinion, but one wonders whether Sir Joshua^s thoughts 
did not turn to the voyage he had made as a young 

The many biographers of Reynolds have nothing to 
say of his literary education in Italy. An unpublished 
commonplace book in the Metropolitan Museum of Art 
in New York throws some light on this phase of his life. 
It was kept by Reynolds in 1 752, at the end of his Italian 
tour. Among the memoranda on the inside of the back 
cover appears a note to * ' Bye a Virgil ". On the first page 
there is a sentence which may serve as a key to his cha- 
racter at this time: **to look more like a man of some 
Business and consequence no dangler nor Idler". The 
book as a whole is filled with notes on the pictures he was 
seeing, a modified sort of diary, and extracts from books 
he was reading. Most of these extracts are from Shaftes- 
bury's Letter Concerning Enthusiasm^^ part of which he 
has translated into Italian. At the same time he seems to 
have been translating into what might be called English 
a part of some Italian translation of T)on ^ixote. Such 
at least is the inference to be drawn from the following 
passage, which is short enough to be included here : 

C[id Hamete Benengeli] relates in this most great most high 
lofty, little sweet and imagin'd history that after that the great 
D[on] Q[uixote] and S[ancho] P[anzo] his squire made these 
discourses [supra, thus discoursd] that which we have related in 
Chapt 21 D.Q. lifted his eyes, and saw in the road where they 
went to come about a Dozen men afoot tyed [about the neck, 
crossed out] together by the neck like paternosters in a great chain 
of Iron and the hands bound in strait hand cuffs, there came 
likewise with them two on horsback and two others afoot 

Such extracts may not prove that Joshua was **a man 
of some Business and consequence" throughout his 
sojourn of three years in Italy, but at least they indicate 
that he was making an honest effort to be "no dangler 

^ They are printed in full in Appendix I (j>osi, pp. 203 ei se^.). 


nor Idler**. A reference to Vasari in his Bolognese note- 
book^ suggests another of the books he was perusing at 
the time, and in the same volume there is mention of 
expenses incurred * * at the Library ". UnHke many of the 
young bloods of his day, Reynolds obviously looked upon 
the Grand Tour as playing an essential part in his career, 
and because the impetus came from within himself, the 
education he received was no doubt far better than the 
more conventional sort given to his contemporaries. 
**Few have been taught to any purpose, who have not 
been their own teachers. We prefer those instructions 
which we have given ourselves, from our affection to the 
instructor; and they are more effectual, from being re- 
ceived into the mind at the very time when it is most open 
and eager to receive them."^ So he wrote some twenty 
years later, and the observation must have been based on 
his own experience. In the absence of any evidence to 
the contrary, we may assume that when Joshua was not 
occupied with his art, he was diligently striving while in 
Italy **to lay in first as strong foundation as possible first 
of knowledge & learning". 

^ In the Soane Museum. Cf. Leslie and Taylor, i, 470, Sir Joshua's 
edition of Vasari's Lives was published at Bologna {^ost, p. 120, n. 2). 
^ Works, i, 37 et seq. 



"He may be said to have formed my mind, and to have 
brushed off from it a deal of rubbish." 

Sir Joshua's character sketch of Dr Johnson. 

Reynolds returned to England in October, 1752, and 
before establishing himself in his apartments in St Mar- 
tin's Lane spent three months with his family and friends 
in Devonshire. While there he had an experience which 
was destined to have no little influence on his later career. 
Chancing to pick up a volume written by an author 
unknown to him, he ''began to read it while he was 
standing with his arm leaning against a chimney-piece. 
It seized his attention so strongly, that, not being able 
to lay down the book till he had finished it, when he 
attempted to move, he found his arm totally benumbed."^ 
The little book which proved to be so engrossing was 
called An Account of the Life of Mr Richard Savage., Son 
of the Earl Rivers. The author's name did not appear 
on the title-page. 

Some time after settling in London, and while paying 
a call on the daughters of Admiral Cotterell, the young 
painter had the pleasure of meeting this author, who 
thenceforth became his closest and most respected 
friend.^ The influence that Samuel Johnson had on his 

' Boswell's Life, i, 165. 

^ Boswell {Life, i, 244) records this meeting under the year 1752; 
Frances Reynolds {Johnsonian Miscellanies, ii, 294) accuses him of 
antedating this "by at least five years"; Taylor {Leslie and Taylor, \, 
118 n.) proves that the earliest possible date is 1753; Northcote (i, 69) 


circle can hardly be overestimated, but on Reynolds in 
particular this influence is most marked. They were seen 
together on all occasions. One of their eminent friends, 
noting this, referred to Johnson as Reynolds's ** oracle".^ 
With this phrase in mind it is important to remember 
that the initiative was taken by the elder of the two, whose 
visits were so frequent and so prolonged that on one 
occasion the ambitious young painter decided to put an 
end to their intercourse. Finding Johnson waiting to see 
him, he abruptly left the house, without so much as an 
apology. In spite of this, Johnson continued to call, and 
they were soon inseparable. 

What was it that the great Rambler saw in his young 
friend which led him to persevere after such a rebuff? 
* ' If a man does not make new acquaintance as he advances 
through life, he will soon find himself alone; a man, Sir, 
should keep his friendship in constant repair."^ This 
was his own explanation to Reynolds, but it is not entirely 
satisfactory. What was it that attracted him particularly 
to this young man from Devonshire, rather than to 
others ? Most assuredly it was not an interest in painting. 
Though he had many opportunities, Johnson never 
showed the slightest appreciation of the arts, and there 
is good reason to believe that Reynolds seldom talked 
about his work. One of Sir Joshua's commentaries on 

places Boswell's account under the year 1754. All of these authorities 
were writing long after the event, and the only one of them to have been 
acquainted with the fact at first hand was Frances Reynolds. It is there- 
fore worth noting that the earliest extant record of their meeting is to be 
found in Reynolds's pocket-book for 1757 (25 January), when he was 
painting the so-called "1756" portrait which was later given to Boswell. 
The pocket-book for 1756 has not survived. In that of 1755 there is no 
mention of Johnson's name. On this slender evidence I am inclined to 
date the meeting 1756. After Johnson's death in 1784 Sir Joshua 
referred to their "thirty years' intimacy", which would suggest a date 
very near 1755. Cf. post, p. 161. 

^ Gibbon's Memoirs, ed. Hill, London, 1900, 143. 

^ Northcote, i, 82. 


society, as reported by Northcote, was "A man is a 
pedant who, having been brought up among books, is 
able to talk of nothing else. The same of a soldier, lawyer, 
painter, &c."^ The samples of his conversation recorded 
by Boswell and Fanny Burney indicate that he wished to 
be no pedant. He won Johnson's respect at their first 
meeting by an observation on human nature which was 
considered worthy of Rochefoucauld. His mind, trained 
by Zachariah Mudge to view things in the abstract, was 
just the sort to appeal to men of the eighteenth century. 
"When Foote has told me something," said Johnson, 
** I dismiss it from my mind like a passing shadow; when 
Reynolds tells me something, I consider myself as 
possessed of an idea the more."^ 

Obviously, however, Reynolds might with equal truth 
have made the same remark about Johnson. Once the 
friendship was established the painter's intellectual de- 
velopment was assured. His natural inclination for 
philosophical speculation was increased; his mental 
horizon was enlarged by introductions to men of note 
in the literary world. The turbulent Italian, Giuseppe 
Baretti, the enthusiastic young Oxford scholar, Bennet 
Langton, the studious Joseph Warton were introduced 
to him at about this time, and probably by Johnson. It 
was certainly Johnson who took him to call upon the 
most widely read of authors, Samuel Richardson, warn- 
ing him beforehand that it would be politic to ''expatiate 
on the excellencies of his Clarissa ". We are not told what 
took place at the meeting, but Reynolds later said that 
the man had little conversation, except about his own 
works, of which ''he was always willing to talk, and glad 
to have them introduced" — a remark which recalls the 
observation on pedantry. 3 

In 1755 ^ group of painters drew up plans for the 

' Northcote \\, 56. ^ Johnsonian Miscellanies /\, 225. 

3 Boswell's Life J iv, 28. 


formation of an Academy, plans which were later used 
when the Royal Academy was founded. These were 
printed with an introduction and distributed among the 
members of the Society of Dilettanti in the hope that such 
noblemen would give them their support. The committee 
of painters, headed by Hayman, included among others 
Reynolds, his master Hudson, and his associates Roubi- 
liac, Astley, Pine, and Dalton. Tom Taylor has pro- 
posed and Mr Boulton has seconded the idea that the 
author of the introduction was Reynolds. The theory is 
based partly on the similarity between sentiments here 
expressed and those in the Discourses^ partly on the fact 
that it **is marked by that generalisation which Burke 
considered the peculiar characteristic of Reynolds".^ 
Admittedly he is as apt to have written it as any of the 
artists, although one of the committee was John Gwynn, 
who published a number of things with and without the 
** friendly assistance" of Johnson, and had in 1749 pro- 
posed in print the establishment of an academy.^ 

Whether or not Reynolds had a hand in composing 
this pamphlet, his first acknowledged attempt at writing 
was made in 1759, and this new departure can be directly 
attributed to his association with Dr Johnson. Idler 
no. 76, which appeared on 29 September, dealt with the 
ridiculous presumption of connoisseurs who endea- 
voured to judge pictures according to rules which they 
had drawn up. Theauthorof this letter was Mr Reynolds. 
In his pocket-book for the night of 29 September the 
newly-fledged writer has entered this engagement: " Mr. 
Johnson & Mr. Clark to dinner." Who Mr Clark was 

^ Leslie and Taylor, i, 131. 

^ Whoever wrote the pamphlet was a reader of the Rambler. Pon- 
derous words and balanced sentences characterize the author's style and 
cause one to wonder whether he had submitted his manuscript to Johnson 
before publishing it. It will be remembered that in 1760 Johnson wrote 
the Address of the Painters, Sculptors, and Architects to George III on his 
Accession to the Throne. Cf. post, p. 24. 


is a matter for speculation. A man of that name appears 
in the pocket-book for 1757, possibly as a sitter, and he 
may have been that ' ' learned and ingenious Mr. Thomas 
Clark of Lincoln's Inn" who was one of Johnson's in- 
timates at this period of his life.^ On such an evening the 
painter may have been guilty of what he termed pedantry. 
Some remarks relative to false criticism of pictures must 
have been passed at the dinner. 

This paper Reynolds followed with two others, nos. 79 
and 82, which were published on 20 October and 10 
November. The first of these in later editions of the Idkr 
was entitled the ** Grand Style of Painting" and the other 
"The True Idea of Beauty". Although published at 
intervals of three weeks, they may, if Northcote is correct, 
have been written at one time. It is more probable, how- 
ever, that the biographer was thinking of one of them 
only. "I have heard Reynolds say", he wrote, "that 
Johnson required them from him on a sudden emergency, 
and on that account he sat up the whole night to complete 
them in time; and by it he was so much disordered, that 
it produced a vertigo in his head."^ This is one of the two 
contemporary comments that concern the composition 
of these papers, the other being Boswell's, on Sir Joshua's 
authority, that Johnson's share in the writing was limited 
to the final six words in the third paper. 3 The painter 
"must, by regarding minute particularities and acci- 
dental discriminations, deviate from the universal rule, 
and -pollute his canvass with deformity'". 

Recent investigation has thrown a certain amount of 
additional light on the composition of these letters. Dr 
Greenway argues convincingly that /<^/<?r no. 76 was writ- 
ten with Jonathan Richardson in mind and that in discuss- 
ing "the flowing line" and "the pyramidal principle" 

^''s Bibliography of Johnson, Oxf Old, 191 5, 133. 

^ Northcote, i, 89. 

3 Boswell's Life, i, 330. 


Reynolds was slyly alluding to Hogarth's Analysis of 
Beauty^ published in 1753. He also points out the 
general similarity between Idler no. 82 and Spectator no. 
412.^ The late Charles S. Peete, following Prof. 
Thompson, had previously indicated a parallel between 
a passage in this essay (contrasting European and Ethio- 
pian ideas of beauty) and a paragraph from Buffier's ha 
Doctrine du Sens Commun? This particular paragraph 
of Buffier's, however, was the subject of extended com- 
ment by Adam Smith in his Theory of Moral Sentiment^ 
which had been published just before Reynolds wrote 
his paper, and, as Dr Greenway has shown, 3 Reynolds 
certainly drew much of his material from Smith. One 
other striking parallel in this Idler has been noted. Sir 
Joshua, we have seen, confessed that the final six words 
were added by Johnson. Peete called attention to the 
fact that the final sentence as a whole is merely a para- 
phrase of Imlac's dissertation upon poetry in Rasselas^ 
which Johnson had written and published in the pre- 
ceding April.4 In writing his letters to the Idler^ then, 
Reynolds seems to have drawn not only on theorists of 
painting like Richardson and Hogarth, but on Adam 
Smith and Johnson as well. 

According to Northcote Reynolds '* committed to 
paper a variety of remarks on the occasion, which after- 
wards served him as hints for his discourses ".5 The 
biographer then fills seven pages with excerpts from 
** those unfinished memoranda", most of which he found 
in a commonplace book that is now in my possession. 
From internal evidence it must have been kept by 

^ G. L. Greenway's Some Predecessors of Sir Joshua Reynolds in the 
Criticism of the Fine Arts (unpublished doctoral dissertation, Yale, 1930), 


^ C. S. Peete 's Sir Joshua Reynolds^ Writer and Theorist (unpublished 
master's thesis, Yale, 192 1), 120; E, N. S. Thompson, Pub. Mod. Lang. 
Assoc, xxxii (191 7), 361. 

3 Op. cit. 230. 4 Op. cit. 122. 5 Northcote, i, 89, 


Reynolds late in this particular decade/ and to it he 
seems to have turned for ideas when composing his Idler 
papers. Certainly there are striking parallels between 
passages in the second and third papers and the manu- 
script. In the commonplace book, when discussing 
Michelangelo, he writes that 

he carried his Idea beyond what nature would bear so that some 
times you dont know whether such a figure is in the greatest 
degree of sublimity or extremely ridicolous/ women & those who 
judge like women never fail of pronouncing it the latter. 

witness his statue of Moses th e Prophets & Sibils in the Vatican, 
he hated tameness & insipidity and in order to give Character 
enou[gh] he almost lost sight of human nature the[y] are 
beings superior to our[s] they are like the Ideas that homer 
raises in you when he describes his demigods 

' Reynolds's comments on Liotard {Northcote, i, 60) appear in this 
book. Liotard, who grew a long beard and adopted the Levantine dress 
after a visit to Constantinople, enjoyed considerable success as a painter 
in England from 1753 to 1755. Since he spent the next seventeen years 
on the continent, the reference to him suggests an approximate date for 
the other entries in the book. Only a portion of the remarks about 
Liotard was printed by Northcote. Immediately after the passage there 
printed is the following: "those who are not capable of judging for 
themselves I think might smell something of the Quack from his appear- 
ance the long beard [and] Turk's dress which as wel[l as] his behaviour 
is of [the] very essence of Imposture, a few nights agone some Itahans 
talking about Liotard of the Great Success he met with in England in 
comparison of what he did in France, one of them opening his Eye with 
one of his fingers says Gli Fracesi hanno gli occhi aperti, the French have 
their eyes open and can see through imposture, with much more good 
humour than I fear I have shown in this Letter they begun to ridicule 
him, one ask'd what punishment might be due to any one who should 
by any means cut off his beard since twould deprive him of his support, 
another said he was like Samson his strength lay in his hair." The 
phrase "in this Letter", towards the end, shows that this was a rough 
draft of a letter, probably to one of his relatives. Such a draft in the 
Florentine note-book is printed by Leshe and Taylor (i, 58), and the 
beginning of a letter to one of his brothers is drafted in the similar volume 
for 1752 in the Metropolitan Museum of New York. 

^ Reynolds found this idea in Pope's notes to the Iliad. Cf. post. 
Appendix I, p. 213. 


With this compare the following from Idler no. 79 : 

It has been thought, and I believe with reason, that Michael 
Angelo sometimes transgressed those limits; and I think I have 
seen figures by him, of which it was very difficult to determine, 
whether they were in the highest degree sublime or extremely 
ridiculous. Such faults may be said to be the ebullition, of Genius; 
but at least he had this merit, that he never was insipid; and 
whatever passion his works may excite, they will always escape 

What I have had under consideration is the sublimest style, 
particularly that of Michael Angelo, the Homer of Painting. 
Other kinds may admit of this naturalness, which of the lowest 
kind is the chief merit; but in Painting, as in Poetry, the highest 
style has the least of common nature. 

In the essay as printed there is but one more paragraph, 
which ends with a word of advice *'to the Connoisseurs, 
that when they see a cat or a fiddle painted so finely, that, 
as the phrase is, it looks as if you could take it up^ they would 
not for that reason immediately compare the Painter to 
Raffaelle and Michael Angelo". The passage which 
Reynolds italicized appears twice in the commonplace 

There is no internal evidence to indicate how much 
time elapsed before such entries were revised for publica- 
tion, but some at least seem to have been written at 
the very time in question. The following, for example, 
must be the rough draft for the beginning of Idler 
no. 82: 

I shall begin this with what will appear a Paradox to prove that 
beauty is arbitrary as well as agreeableness, tis a genearal 
receivd notion that bea[u]ty does not depend in the Idea alone 
but that there is a fixt thing it is something more real «5c positive 
& that every body has a standard to judge by wher[e]as agree- 
ableness is arbitrary and every one judges according to his own 
Ideas or fancy, I dont doubt of convincing that it is so only 
through prejudice, I shall begin with giving you my definition 
of beauty Beauty is the medium or center of what is seen this 


will need some explination.^ was there a certain and fixt and 
invariable rule of proportion for beauty we should be as much 
offended at a figure drawn contrary to that rule as we are at a 
dissonance in Musick the harmony of which depends not upon 
us but is such as Nature has in such a manner fixt and established 
that tis impossible to depart from it without offending the very 
organs of hearing was it thus in respect to beauty we should 
find figures contrary condemn'd by universal consent, as did 
our eye as naturally judge of beauty as our Ear does of musick 
there would never be any dispute whether a figure is handsom[e] 
or not any more than there is among Musicians about the truth 
of Consonance like the fashion, things are beautiful because 
we have been used to them [more] than we are to [what is] ugly 
how ask you "are we more used to beauty than we are to uglyness 
you seem to be of a contrary opinion to the sculptors & Painters 
who when they have to draw a beau ti full woman for instance find 
it impossible to find it in one person and are forced to have 
recourse to the expedient of taking a face from on[e] an arm 
from another a neck from another," I answer tis true you seldom 
or never see a whole figure perfect or scarce a whole limb so but 
I will venter to affirm that fix upon any particular feature or part 
of a figure 

The passage breaks off at this point, and was probably 
never finished. 

A final parallel remains to be mentioned. In Idler no. 
82 there is the following passage, clearly based on Adam 
Smith : 

Every species of the animal as well as the vegetable creation 
may be said to have a fixed or determinate form, towards which 
Nature is continually inclining, like various lines terminating 
in the center; or it may be compared to pendulums vibrating in 

^ Cf. Idler no. 8 2 ( Works, ii, 24 2) : "From what has been said, it may 
be inferred, that ... in creatures of the same species, beauty is the medium 
or centre of all its various forms." This is the passage which presumably 
derives from Smith's Moral Sentiments: "in the human form the beauty 
of each feature lies in a certain middle, equally removed from a variety 
of other forms that are ugly. . ..In the same manner, in each species 
of creatures, what is most beautiful bears the strongest characters of the 
general fabric of the species" (ed. Stewart, London, 1861, 286 et seq.). 
According to Northcote, Reynolds adopted this idea from Zachariah 
Mudge (Hazlitt's Conversations of James Northcote, London, 1830, 86). 


different directions over one central point: and as they all cross 
the center, though only one passes through any other point, so 
it will be found that perfect beauty is oftner produced by nature 
than deformity. 

Note towards the end of the sentence the spelling of 
** oftner". In later editions of the Idler this has been 
corrected, but the word is so spelt in the commonplace 
book, and on the same page where this is found begins 
the following: "tast[e] does not come by chance tis a 
long & laborious task you like a Pendulum must waver 
this way and that way before you fix from in the centre." 
It is reasonable to suppose, then, that Reynolds jotted 
down his first thoughts in his commonplace book and 
referred to them when he was engaged in writing the 
letters for the Idler, 

The papers were written at Johnson's request. North- 
cote remarks that at this time "Johnson was under many 
obligations, as well as those literary ones, to Reynolds, 
whose generous kindness would never permit his friends 
to ask a pecuniary favour; — his purse and heart being 
always open ".^ The comment sheds light on such entries 
in the pocket-book for this year as that under date of 
9 July: **;£96 to Johnson". It will be remembered that 
Johnson's mother died in this year and that Rasselas was 
written to defray the expenses of her funeral. Needless 
to say, the painter was not reimbursed for his initial 
literary venture. 

Nor did the general public know that these papers 
were written by Mr Reynolds. When the first collected 
edition of the Idler was published in October, 1761, 
Johnson acknowledged that some of the letters, which he 
specified by numbers, had been contributed by friends, 
but he mentioned no names. At the same time, while this 
edition was in the press, he contrived to have the three 
papers by Reynolds struck off separately with an altera- 
* Northcote, i, 8 5 ^/ seq. 


tion in the pagination and signatures and with the omis- 
sion of the date and number of each article, thus forming 
a duodecimo pamphlet of a single gathering. On the 
title-page was the simple heading: "Three Letters to 
The Idler." A very precious copy of this leaflet is now 
in the possession of Dr D. Nichol Smith of Oxford. It 
was presented by Johnson to Reynolds, who in turn gave 
it to Malone in 1789. In his Johnsonian bibliography^ 
Courtney erred in considering this the only copy printed. 
At least one other is in existence. It is to be found bound 
up with a number of other pamphlets in the Yale Uni- 
versity Library, endorsed in a contemporary hand: *'By 
Sir Josuah Reynolds."^ 

Before the Idlers had been collected, those written by 
Reynolds had been reprinted in the London Chronicle, 
In the issue for 12—14 May, 1761, they were combined 
into one article, which was entitled: "A letter on Painting, 
first published in the weekly paper called The Idler, ^^ 
In order to run the three essays together the last para- 
graph of the first and the initial paragraph of the second 
were omitted. Similarly the first two paragraphs of the 
third were altered. Otherwise, except for the omission 
of several words, which may have occurred through the 
carelessness of the type-setter, the original articles re- 
mained unchanged. The name of the author was withheld, 
but Reynolds no doubt felt a ** self-congratulation" in 
observing that his first effort in a literary way had been 
considered worth reprinting. 

Encouraged by the success of his letters on painting, 
he tried his hand at a more imaginative sort of essay. His 
plan was to write as though he were the wife of a man who 

^ W. P. Courtney's Bibliography of Johnson, Oxford, 191 5, 80. 

* The inscription recalls the letter one of Sir Joshua's nephews wrote 
his young sister when he was in London : " I am glad that you are improv'd 
in your writing . . . and should have been as glad if you had been improv'd 
enough in your spelling to have spelt Joshua right on the direction of my 
letter." Sir Joshua's Nephew y 157 <?/ seq. 


though witty in company was in private the dullest of 
companions. Two unfinished versions of such an essay 
survive. There is nothing in either which gives a clue to 
the date of composition, but the form suggests the Idlers^ 
and it is therefore possible that they were written at about 
this time. The two versions were seen by Leslie when he 
was writing his life of Reynolds. What he endeavoured 
to do was to combine the two, giving extracts first from the 
one and then from the other, although he makes no such 
admission.^ One of the two, the longer but the more 
incomplete, is now in the possession of Lady Charnwood, 
who has published it in full in the description of her 
collection.^ The other, probably a first draft, is in the 
British Museum, and consists of but two folio pages. 
Lady Charnwood's is merely an expansion of the first 
half, and hence in her manuscript the point of the essay 
is lost. We are told that her copy contains many correc- 
tions and erasures. This is equally true of that in the 
British Museum, which is here printed. In reproducing 
it I have thought it unnecessary to indicate the variant 
readings and have felt free not only to select those which 
render the paper more intelligible, but to normalize the 


I am a very young married woman, and my Husband is an 
eminent Witt. I do not mean that he is eminent as a Scholar, 
but he is extremely lively in company and is allowed to say more 
good things than anybody, or rather used to say them, for since 
I have been married he appears the dullest man I ever knew. 
He used to be invited to my Father's house as the fiddle^ of the 
company, and indeed our table conversation I thought but dull 
when he was not one of the party; by degrees from wishing for 
his company and from the relief which he allways gave from the 
dull matter of fact which was the conversation when he was not 

^ Leslie and Taylor^ i, 246 et seq. 
^ An Autograph Collection, London, 1930, 132. 
3 O.E.D. : "One to whose music others dance; hence, a mirth-maker, 


present, and let me add from his apparent partiality to me as I 
thought from his allways looking to me for my approbation when 
he thought he had said a good thing, I begun to feel something 
that was very much like love, an uneasiness at his absence; indeed 
I begun to think how happy would that woman be who lived in 
the same house and heard every day so much wit and agreable 
conversation. In short notwithstanding the inequality of our age, 
our ranks, of everything, and totally against the advice of my 
parents and friends, we married. I thought I acted the part of 
a heroine in preferring sense, mind, to personal accomplishments 
and every other external consideration. 

That I do not absolute repent is certain; yet it is as certain 
that my husband is not the man I took him for. I would not 
insinuate that he wants understanding, good nature, or is a bad 
man in any respect, but he is the dullest creature I ever knew; 
he talks of knews and of family affairs as insipidly, as clear of all 
wit and immagination, and is as great a mopus in his own family 
when we haven't company as my poor old father or any other 
honest plain gentleman. 

Now my question to you is this, whether you do not think my 
husband do not in some measure come under the denomination 
of a swindler from his having procured a very agreable wife with 
a very good fortune, upon false pretences.^ 

At the foot of the page, evidently with the idea of working 
it into the body of the essay, unless indeed it was to stand 
at the head as a sort of motto, he has misquoted one of 
Falstaff's remarks, writing from memory: "not only 
witty but the cause of wit in others''. 

Although three of his essays had appeared in print, 
Reynolds still lacked confidence in his ability to write. 
In 1762 the Society of Artists desired a preface for the 
catalogue of their exhibition, in which an apology should 
be made for charging admission. Mr Whitley has dis- 
covered in the minutes of the Society for 20 April the 
following entry; *'Mr. Reynolds having presented a 
preface it was agreed to and ordered to be printed." On 
this he bases his argument that the preface was written 
not by Johnson, to whom it has always been ascribed, 
' Add. MSS. 33,964, f. 208. 


but by Reynolds. This attribution has been challenged, 
and in my opinion successfully challenged, by Dr Powell, 
who writes : 

I have powerful allies. They are: — (i) The Editor of the 
Supplement to Johnson's Works (Vol. xiv), published in 1788, 
four years before the death of Reynolds; (2) Boswell, whose 
friendship for Reynolds was so deep that he dedicated his great 
*Life' to him. His consent to the admission of a work to the 
Johnsonian canon was not easily obtained; (3) Malone, who was 
Reynolds's executor, the vindicator of his fajne as an author, and 
the editor of his literary works. Malone, moreover, saw Boswell's 
*Life' in all its stages and, after Boswell's death, became its 
editor. He was therefore in the unique position of being able to 
assign the piece to its real author. He did not take it away from 
Johnson; (4) Northcote, Reynolds's assistant and biographer. 
He prints the Preface, but is careful to add that it was 'written 
by JDr, Johnson'. 

Those who are most familiar with Johnson's inimitable style 
accept the piece as his. I mean Birkbeck Hill, Professor Nichol 
Smith, and Dr. R. W. Chapman; if it were necessary for me to 
add my own opinion I should say that no one else but the Devil 
could have written it.^ 

Mr Whitley argues that Johnson, knowing nothing 
about the affairs of artists, would have been incapable 
of writing the piece. The answer seems to be obvious. 
Before writing it he would naturally consult with Rey- 
nolds as to what he was desired to say. 

By this time Mr Joshua Reynolds of Leicester Fields 
was generally regarded as the outstanding English artist. 
Such recognition brought with it not only a greater 
number of sitters but an increasing list of social obliga- 
tions. His diary for the period is filled with such entries 

^ Whitley, i, 179; The Times, 1934, 22 Jan. (p. 130); 5 Feb. 
(p. 8 b); 14 Feb. (p. 8 a); 27 Feb. (p. 10 c). To Dr Powell's arguments 
should be added another, supplied to me by my colleague, Dr A. T. 
Hazen. The preface was included by Tom Davies, close friend of 
Johnson and Reynolds, in his Johnsonian collection, Miscellaneous and 
Fugitive Pieces, 1773. 


as **cards", "Vauxhall", "Ball 6 o^clock Crown & 
Anchor", "Ranelagh'^ *' Company at 6'\ etc. But 
though he was always fond of balls and whist, he was 
fonder of a society which was less frivolous. In 1 76 1 the 
enthusiastic young antiquary, Thomas Percy, had intro- 
duced Goldsmith, **Auth. of y^ present state of polite 
Literature in Europe*', to Johnson. About the same 
time both Percy and Goldsmith met Reynolds, probably 
through Johnson, who also brought that somewhat pon- 
derous magistrate and man of letters, John Hawkins, 
into the circle. It then occurred to Reynolds that 
Johnson's love of talking would be fostered if these men 
and a few others were to form themselves into a club. 
The original conception **he started to Dr. Johnson at 
his own fireside."^ He suggested the idea to another 
brilliant young writer, Edmund Burke, editor of the 
Annual Register^ who must have attracted his attention 
first in 1751, when the treatise On the Sublime and 
Beautifulw2iS published. Burke approved, ?ind the Club — 
a specific name was considered an admission of its being 
commonplace — was thus organized in 1 764. Outsiders, 
notably the Queen of the Bluestockings, called their 
society the Literary Club, since a love of literature was 
the common interest which bound them together. It is 
significant, then, that the initiative in organizing this now 
famous group was taken by Mr Reynolds, and that the 
members were drawn to the founder not because he was 
a painter, but because he shared with them such enthu- 
siasm (he himself had used this word favourably in one 
of the Idlers) for literature. 

This enthusiasm was revealed soon after the founding 
of the Club. In 1756 Johnson had published proposals 
for an edition of Shakespeare, promising that the work 
would be completed before the end of the following year. 
Subscriptions were sent to him, but the task remained 
^ Prior's Life ofMalone, London, i860, 434. 


unfinished. Satirical Churchill, christening him Pom- 
poso, wrote: 

He for subscribers baits his hook 

And takes their cash — but where's the book? 

It is conceivable that the book might never have come 
out if it had not been for the goads administered by 
Johnson's circle, but the edition finally made its appear- 
ance a year after the Club had been organized. In the 
last of the eight volumes were incorporated many notes 
written by his friends. Only three members of the Club, 
Burke, Nugent, and Beauclerk, failed to contribute, and 
Beauclerk was definitely losing interest in the group at 
this time. 

As a critic of Shakespeare, Reynolds cannot be said 
to have distinguished himself. Johnson included five of 
his notes, of which Northcote prints the three concerning 
Othello.^ The two which Northcote omitted are short 
enough to be inserted here as samples of the painter's 
criticism. One of these was not written out, but was 
communicated verbally. In the final scene of The Merry 
Wives^ FalstafF turns on his persecutors, saying : ''Divide 
me like a bribe-buck, each a haunch ; I will keep my sides 
to myself, my shoulders for the fellow of this walk, and 
my horns I bequeath your husbands." Johnson's com- 
ment to this was : * ' Who th^ fellow is, or why he keeps his 
shoulders for him, I do not understand." In the appendix 
he adds: '*Mr. Reynolds is of opinion that by the fellow 
of this walk is meant Heme the Hunter.'' In subsequent 
editions this note is omitted, because scholars more 
familiar with Elizabethan literature were able to give the 
proper interpretation to the phrase. 

The other note which Northcote omits was reprinted 
in many editions, but is of importance only because it 

^ Northcote, i, 1 46 et seq. 


was Sir Joshua^s observation. It is extremely character- 
istic. Ophelia, making her first appearance after going 
insane, sings : 

How should I your true love know, 

From another one? 
By his cockle hat and staff, 

And by his sandal shoon. 

** There is no part of this play", comments our critic, 
**in its representation on the stage, [that] is more 
pathetic than this scene, which, I suppose, proceeds from 
the utter insensibility she has to her own misfortune." 
Then in a new paragraph follows the generalization 
which was to have been expected from him: *'A great 
sensibility, or none at all, seem to produce the same 
effect; in the latter, the audience supply what she wants, 
and in the former, they sympathise." 

It may have been at this time, when Johnson printed 
three of his notes to Othello^ that Reynolds wrote a fourth. 
Since it was not published until a century later, the date 
of composition cannot be accurately fixed. When Othello 
describes his courtship, he refers to his 

travel's history: 
Wherein of antres vast, and desarts idle, . . . 
It was my hint to speak. 

Considering idle a corruption of wild^ Pope printed the 
phrase desarts wild^ which elicited this comment from 
Theobald: **I don't know whether Mr. Pope has ob- 
served it, but I know that Shakespeare, especially in 
descriptions, is fond of using the more uncommon word 
in a poetic latitude." Reynolds took Theobald's idea 
and expanded it as follows : 

whatever is expressd in Common words colloquial language is 
never nor can be forcibly expressd to the imagination, indeed a 
very little reflection will shew this ever must be the case; the 
mode of expression which you hear every day and on every 


occasion, must in its own natur[e] be feeble that is from its 
frequency [must] have lost the power of touching and affecting 

To express an immense space of uncultivated country, to call 
it 'a waste desert', excites no particular impression of its being 
not used for the advantage of man, for no other reason but 
because it is a common expression. Its beauty and excellence is 
lost in its familiarity. But when Shakespear, instead of 'deserts 
waste' calls them * deserts idle', he immediately excites a fresh 
[idea]. . .of their being useless to mankind.. . .Does not wit 
likewise often consist in using the second word, — not that which 
first occurs, and has been worn out.?^ 

His interest in Shakespeare, as we shall see, continued 
throughout his life. In his letters, in the Discourses^ in 
random notes still preserved among his manuscripts, 
there are frequent quotations from the plays. Many an 
hour he spent at the theatre in seeing the Othello of Barry, 
the Lady Macbeth of Mrs Yates or Mrs Siddons, the 
Beatrice of Mrs Abington, the Lear, Mercutio, or 
Hamlet of Garrick.^ He was on terms of intimacy with 
the outstanding Shakespearian editors of his time, not 
only with Johnson and Malone, but with Dr Farmer, 
George Steevens, and Isaac Reed. Like the other saner 
members of his society, he refrained from going to 

^ The first paragraph is from a photographic illustration facing page 
1 86 of Sir Walter Armstrong's Sir Joshua Reynolds, P.R.A. (London, 
1900). The manuscript was said to be in the National Gallery, Ireland, 
but I have been unable to trace its present whereabouts. I have therefore 
been forced to use Leslie's inaccurate transcript (i, 245) for the second 

^ A note in the commonplace book from which so many extracts have 
already been made indicates that his love for the theatre had developed 
soon after he had settled in London. He had written: "I thought once 
that a Painters judgement of Painting was to be as much depended on 
[as] a jeweller about a diamond or precious stone but alas they are as 
much judge[s] of Painting as Players are of Plays they each act 
mecanically by rote." To this he added the following note: "I will 
except two Players and I wish I could as many P[ainters] Mr. G Sc 
Mrs. C." I assume he refers to Garrick and Mrs Cibber, although he 
might have had Kitty Clive in mind. 


Garrick's Stratford Jubilee, but was somewhat con- 
nected with it the following year when his admirer, 
friend, and most faithful humble servant, George Colman, 
dedicated to him his farce, Man and Wije; or the Shake- 
speare Jubilee, We know that he was fond of Shakespearian 
discussions and disquisitions, provokingone of Johnson's 
caustic retorts by praising Mrs Montagu's Essay^^ but 
there were times when he felt such conversation out of 
place. When he accompanied Garrick and others to Lord 
Mansfield's on behalf of the imprisoned Baretti, "his 
lordship, without paying much attention to the business, 
immediately and abruptly began with some very flimsy 
and boyish observations on the contested passage in 
Othello^ *Put out the light', &c. This was by way of 
showing off to Garrick, whose opinion of him however 
was not much raised by this impotent and untimely 
endeavour to shine on a subject with which he was 
little acquainted. Sir J. Reynolds, who had never seen 
him before... was grievously disappointed in finding 
this great lawyer so little at the same time."^ 

That Reynolds had read widely in Shakespeare is 
proved by the commonplace book in my possession. 
Twenty pages are filled with passages which appealed to 
him for one reason or another. Most of the extracts are 
from Troilus and Cressida^ Love's Labour s Lost^ Merchant 
of Venice^ Romeo and Juliet^ Othello^ Much Ado^ As Tou 
Like It^ and Henry VIIL But he also quotes from Two 
Gentlemen of Verona^ Midsummer Night's Dream^ and 
Titus Andronicus. His edition must have been that 
brought out in 1733 by Theobald, since he transcribes 
the quotation from Tibullus, which in that edition only 
is appended to Juliet's ''At lover's perjuries they say 
Jove laughs". He also writes "Sleap seal those pretty 
eyes" (Troilus and Cressida^ iv, 2), which is Theobald's 

' Boswell's Life, ii, 88. 

^ Prior's Life of Malone, London, i860, 382. 


reading, instead of the more usual "Sleep kill those 
pretty eyes".^ 

Like all entries in all of his commonplace books which 
I have seen, these extracts are copied into the book 
without much system. To be sure, six of the pages are 
headed *'Love** and three ''Jests", but on the other 
pages (headed * ' Shakespear ' ') he jumps without warning 
from Troilus to Bassanio, and from Romeo back to 
Troilus. Seldom does he comment on the passages tran- 
scribed. He notes that the following passage (^Love's 
Labour's Lost^ v, 2) refers to "bumbast, trite phrases": 

Nor woo in rhime like a blind harper's song 
Taffata phrases, silken terms precise, 
Three-pil'd hyperboles, spruce affectation. 
Figures pedantical, 

and after quoting from the same scene ^*Dye when you 
will a smock shall be your shroud ' ', he adds : ' * applicable 
to a Ladies man." 

In two instances he has notably altered the text. He 
enters this couplet from the final act oi Romeo and Juliet \ 

Ah me ! how sweet is love it self possest 
When but loves shadows are so rich in joy? 

This he has altered to 

Ah me! how sweet is Celia's self possest 
When but her shadow makes a man so blest. 

^ Dodd's Beauties of Shakespeare was based on Theobald's edition 
of 1733. Reynolds, like Dodd, transcribes Romeo's 

" — streaks 
Do lace the severing clouds in yonder East. 
Nights candles are burnt out, and jocund day 
Stands tiptoe on the misty mountains tops." 

And, like Dodd, he appends to this Milton's 

" — till morn 
Wakd by the circling Hours, with rosy hand 
Unbarrd the gates of light." 

But Reynolds includes many "beauties" which Dodd omitted. 


A similar alteration is made in a long quotation from 
Titus Andronicus (ii, 3), where instead of **My lovely- 
Aaron ' ' he writes ' * My Lovely Celia ". Later in the same 
passage, when he was copying the line ** Under the sweet 
shade Aaron let us sit'*, he began writing the correct 
name, but substituted ** Celia" for it. Obviously Rey- 
nolds was interested at the time in a young lady whom he 
chose to name Celia. 

When he occupied himself in making these "elegant 
extracts ' ' is problematical. Since they appear at the front 
of the volume, they must have been written before the 
comments on painting which have already been discussed . 
They may have been written before he left his native 
Plympton, but in any case they indicate that he had read 
Shakespeare with some care before he appeared in 
Johnson's edition as a critic. 


'I suppose you have heard of the establishment of a royal 
academy here; the first opportunity I have I will send you 
the discourse I delivered at its opening." 

Reynolds to Barry, 1769. 

** Numberless and ineffectual" were the consultations 
held "to form plans and concert schemes for an Aca- 
demy". The plan of an Academy which has already been 
mentioned was but one of many that were drawn up from 
the time Reynolds established himself in London until 
17685 when a Royal Academy became an actuality. 
Thanks chiefly to the influence which Chambers had on 
George III, organization was made possible late in this 
year, and Reynolds, who until the last wavered between 
this group and a rival one headed by Joshua Kirby, made 
his decision after he was convinced of royal support and 
was told * ' to the surprise of everybody ' ' that he was to be 
the first president. 

The first president was not fond of exhibiting himself 
in public as a speaker. Naturally timid, he delivered his 
inaugural address and his subsequent lectures in a way 
that was disappointing to his audiences. Years before, 
while a student at Minorca, he was thrown from his 
horse, thus bruising his upper lip so that, to use his own 
expression, it was ''spoiled for kissing".^ He might 
have added that it was also spoiled for enunciation. The 
fact that he was deaf made him less able to correct this 

^ Letters, 5. 


defect. **His pronunciation was tinctured with the 
Devonshire accent", and, abhorring that ''most hateful 
of all hateful qualities, affectation ' ', he preferred speaking 
in a slovenly manner to being accused of aping a polished 
orator.^ A certain noble earl (probably Lord Carlisle) 
complained to the president at the conclusion of one of 
the lectures : ''Sir Joshua, you read your discourse in so 
low a tone that I did not distinguish one word you said." 
"That", replied Reynolds with a smile, "was to my 

Lacking confidence, then, in his abilities as an orator, 
he made it his practice to read his discourses, but he read 
to the Academy not his own manuscript, marred as it 
was with deletions and interlineations, but a fair copy 
written by an amanuensis. The scribe, as we shall see, 
was usually someone who lived with him, either one of 
his nieces or one of his pupils. It happens that the only 
pupil he had when he read his opening lecture was 
Charles Gill, son of an eminent pastry cook in Bath. 
Three letters which this youth wrote to Northcote are in 
my possession, two of which were written in 1773, the 
third at a much later date. The first two reveal a hand 
which when normal must have been as regular as that 
found in copybooks. That it was here not normal was 
due to his having been confined to his "Bed and Room 
allmost three weeks in a violent fitt of the Rheumatism 
and Gout from catching cold, which I can by no means 
stand the bustle with, having allmost lost the use of my 
Limbs and much troubled with nervous Headakes ". In 
a postscript he adds: "Excuse my Whriting as my 
Whrists are painfull." 

This droll letter becomes the more interesting when 
it is compared with a ruled sheet, torn out of a notebook 

* Cornelia Knight's Autobiography^ London, 1 86 1, i, 9 ; Works, i, 1 1 1 . 
^ Northcote, i, 179. For a similar criticism which appeared in a 
newspaper of the day see Whitley, ii, 135. 


and now with the Reynolds MSS. in the Royal Academy. 
On it in a copybook hand is written a passage which 
occurs in the opening discourse.^ It has been preserved 
fortuitously. Sir Joshua having written on the verso an 
anecdote which he intended to work into another dis- 
course. There is enough similarity between the fair copy 
and the letters written four years later by Gill to suggest 
him as the first of the painter's scribes. 

Reynolds read his inaugural address on the 2nd of 
January, 1769, at the formal opening of the Academy. 
He read it from a fair copy, made probably by Charles 
Gill, and we may assume that he read it badly. His fellow- 
Academicians were none the less pleased, for immediately 
after he had taken his seat the following resolution was 
passed : 

That the Thanks of the General Assembly of the Acade- 
micians be given to Mr. Reynolds for his Ingenious, useful, and 
Elegant Speech deliver'd at the Opening of the Royal Academy. 
Ordered, That with Mr. Renolds's permission, the same be 
Printed for the Use of the Academy. 

Flattered at receiving the approbation "of so consider- 
able a Body of Artists", Mr ''Renolds" wrote a brief 
prefatory note, addressed to them, and sent his manu- 
script to one William Bunce, who on 27 December had 
been appointed official printer to the Academy. Soon 
after, the quarto pamphlet of sixteen pages made its 
appearance with the following title-page: A Discourse ^ 
delivered at the opening of the Royal Academy, January 2, 
1769, by the President. London: Printed in the Tear 
MDCCLXIX. As is often the case with such pamphlets, 
it is to-day extremely difficult to acquire. Not many were 
printed, and it is probable that the president distributed 
all that there were to his friends and associates. 

Doubtless at Reynolds's suggestion, Tom Davies, 
memorable for having introduced Boswell to Johnson, 
^ Cf. post, Appendix II, p. 217. 



was proposed on 30 January as official bookseller to the 
Academy. On 28 February it was recorded that His 
Majesty had approved the appointment. Additional 
copies of the discourse were then struck off, with a 
slightly altered imprint, which read: ''London: Printed 
by W. Bunce, Printer, and Sold by T. Davies, Book- 
seller, to the Royal Academy." 

At the same time that Davies secured his appointment, 
Giovanni Claudio Molini, Parisian bookseller and pub- 
lisher, had been appointed Foreign Bookseller to the 
Academy. Soon after, presumably, the first discourse 
made its appearance on the continent. Certainly the 
pamphlet circulated in Germany, where it received a 
flattering notice in the Leipzig periodical, Neue Bihliothek 
der schonen Wissenschajten und der jreyen Kilns te. The 
notice, to be sure, is brief, merely explaining in a few 
words why the "eminent*' painter had composed it, and 
ending with ''Wir werden vielleicht gelegentlich mehr 
davon sagen '*. But *'mehr davon sagen " was less neces- 
sary when in the following year the editor published a 
translation of it. One wonders whether a copy was sent 
to the author, who nowhere alludes to it. 

He did know of at least two other translations of it, 
both made by young ladies of his acquaintance. The 
all-accomplished Cornelia Knight, later a companion to 
Queen Charlotte and to Princess Charlotte, earned for 
herself the praise of her elders by translating the discourse 
into excellent French, although she was a mere child of 
twelve.^ Louisa Henrietta Flint, some eight years her 
senior, not only translated it into French but had her 
translation printed in Paris. The daughter of a Scottish 
teacher of English who resided in Paris because of his 
Jacobite sympathies, she is described by her friend 
Frances Reynolds as *'une belle esprit*' who disgusted 

^ F. H. Skrine's Gossip about Dr Johnson and Others, London, 
1926, 71. 


Mrs Carter while drinking tea with her one afternoon 
("I have forgot at whose House") by raving 'Sn the 
praise of Roseau ! * ' She has described herself, modestly- 
enough, as resembling Mme de Sevigne in wit and Mme 
de Maintenon in beauty/ She gave proof of her interest 
in learning by translating among other things Johnson's 
remarks on Shakespeare. She had returned to Paris after 
a visit to London in 1768, taking Frances with her, and 
soon afterwards, when Reynolds himself made a short 
trip to Paris, she had acted as his guide on an expedition 
to Versailles. 

Opposite 13 February, 1769, Reynolds wrote in his 
pocket-book: "Send a Book to Sister in France." Per- 
haps the book was his opening address, and probably 
Sister showed it to Miss Flint. In any case Miss Flint 
translated it ''most elegantly", according to Frances, 
and had it printed by one Michel Lambert.^ 

Such translations must have pleased the author, and 
he must have enjoyed the notice accorded the discourse 
in the Gentleman s Magazine.'^ As was usual in those 
days, the bulk of the review was made up of generous 
quotations from the text. It concludes, however, with 
the remark that the discourse "certainly does honour 
to the president as a painter, if any honour can be added 
to that which he has acquired by his pencil : it has besides 
great merit as a literary composition". 

^ Le Breton's Rivarol, Paris, 1895, 35. In the unpublished letter 
quoted above, which is in the Huntington Library in California, Frances 
Reynolds refers to her friend's husband as "a very poor and I believe 
a very bad man". This vi^as that amazing rogue, Antoine Rivarol, 
self-styled a count, who married her in 1783 and deserted her soon after, 
finding her a combination of Juno and Xantippe. She was not guillotined, 
as Boulton (p. 100) and Tom Taylor (i, 287 n.), misled by Northcote 
(i, 202), declare, but lived until 1821, writing among other things a 
biographical sketch of her scapegrace husband. Johnson's charming 
letter to her, written in French, is printed in Letters of Samuel Johnson^ 
ed. Hill, Oxford, 1892, i, 150. 

^ Cf. posty p. 63. 3 xxxix, 98 (February, 1769). 


That this was the opinion of the Academy was shown 
not only by their order to have the speech printed but by 
their resolution in the same month with reference to the 
catalogue for their first exhibition. ** Resolved; That a 
Preface be prefixed to the Catalogue to appologise for 
our taking Money — That the President be desired to 
draw up a Preface." This he did, producing a month 
later * * an Advertisement by way of Preface to the Cata- 
logue " . It was then resolved ' ' That the following be the 
Preface — 

Advertisement — 

As the present Exhibition is a part of the Institution of an 
Academy supported by Royal Munificence, the Public may 
naturally expect the liberty of being admitted without any 

The Academicians therefore think it necessary to declare that 
this was very much their desire but that they have not been able 
to suggest any other means than that of receiving Money for 
Admittance to prevent the Room from being filFd by improper 
Persons, to the entire exclusion of those for whom the Exhibition 
is apparently intended."^ 

The Academy had been instituted on the loth of De- 
cember, 1768, when His Majesty had approved the code 
of laws. For this reason the loth of December was con- 
sidered the proper date on which to hold the annual 
meeting at which prizes should be distributed to de- 
serving students and officers should be elected for the 
ensuing year. But since the loth fell on a Sunday in 
1769 the first of such meetings was postponed until the 
I ith. The president, called upon to present the awards, 
felt he should say to the students something which would 
be more useful to them than barren praise. ** I could wish 
to lead you into such a course of study as may render your 
future progress answerable to your past improvement; 

^ Minutes of the Council for 30 January and 28 February, 1769. 
The inferiority of this preface to that of 1762 is another argument that 
the earlier one was written by Johnson. Cf. ante, p. 25. 


and, whilst I applaud you for what has been done, remind 
you how much yet remains to attain perfection."^ 

This then is the apology for the second and all sub- 
sequent discourses. He repeats it in his final address, 
saying ; 

If prizes were to be given, it appeared not only proper, but 
almost indispensably necessary, that something should be said 
by the President on the delivery of those prizes; and the President 
for his own credit would wish to say something more than mere 
words of compliment, which, by being frequently repeated, would 
soon become flat and uninteresting, and by being uttered to many, 
would at last become a distinction to none: I thought, therefore, 
if I were to preface this compliment with some instructive obser- 
vations on the Art, when we crowned merit in the Artists whom 
we rewarded, I might do something to animate and guide them 
in their future attempts.^ 

As was the case with the inaugural address, the 
Academy voted that the president should give his manu- 
script to the printer, and hereafter the printing of the 
discourses was taken as a matter of course. During the 
autumn Bunce, the original printer, had died, and in his 
place the Academy had elected William Griffin, whose 
name does not appear on the imprint of the discourses. 
The title-page, which served as a model for the remaining 
discourses, reads : A Discourse^ Delivered to the Students 
of the Royal Academy^ on the Distribution of the Prizes^ 
December ii, 1769, by the President. London: Sold 
by Thomas Davies, Bookseller to the Royal Academy, 
MDCCLXIX, Although the date of printing is given 
as 1769, it is probable that the pamphlet did not appear 
until early in the new year. As we shall see later, the 
printers were not fond of working during the Christmas 
holidays, and the resolution of the Academy to have the 
discourse printed was not passed until the meeting on 
the I St of January. 

^ Works/i, 23. 2 Id.'n, 185. 


The pamphlet sold for is. 6d,, but judging from the 
fact that the majority of copies which are still extant were 
gifts of the author, it is not likely that the sale could have 
been great. There is on record one instance of its falling 
into hands unknown to Reynolds. James Brunton, a 
young apprentice to a clockmaker in Norwich, after 
reading the discourse, was so fired with enthusiasm that 
he determined to become a painter. He wrote to Sir 
Joshua, for Reynolds had been knighted after becoming 
president of the Academy, and received a reply which 
resulted in the master releasing the apprentice, who 
then came to London and became a student of Cipriani's.^ 

At about this time Sir Joshua's interest in men of 
letters was revealed in another way. A few months before 
the second discourse was delivered, the Academicians 
had elected his friend Giuseppe Baretti secretary for 
foreign correspondence. Baretti is so styled on 20 Oc- 
tober, when he was being tried for murder, but the 
appointment was not officially confirmed until the meeting 
of the Council on the 9th of November. Early in the 
following January, ' * The President & Treasurer reported 
that His Majesty had been pleased to appoint Dr. 
Samuel Johnson, Professor of Antient Literature, Oliver 
Goldsmith, M.B. Professor of antient History, & Rich- 
ard Dalton Esqr. Antiquarian to the Royal Academy."^ 
The professorships, needless to say, were purely honor- 
ary, and Reynolds of course was the sponsor for the idea. 
The occupants of the various chairs were invariably his 
closest friends and were men of recognized literary 
ability. ** There is no duty required", he wrote Langton 

^ In a letter dated 8 April, 1772 (now in the Royal Academy), 
Northcote writes: "Brunton who I have befor mentiond to you is by 
this time dead in a consumption at Norwich." 

^ Minutes of the Council for 9 January, 1770. "His Majesty had 
been pleased to appoint" was a euphemism. According to Farington, 
"he never approved of these appointments in the first instance." 
(Farington's Diary, i, 49.) 


at a later date •/ " we desire only the honour of your name, 
for which you have the entr^ of the Academy and we give 
you once a year a very good dinner, I mean that before 
the Exhibition and you see the Exhibition as often as 
you please gratis. ' ' 

As is well known, Goldsmith remarked when elected 
that honours to one in his circumstances "were like 
ruffles to a man who had no shirt". He accepted with 
none the less pleasure because of his fondness for the 
president. The two v/ere at this time constantly in one 
another's society. The poet was sitting to the painter for 
the portrait which was exhibited in the spring, and while 
the Exhibition was still in progress The Deserted Village 
was published with its dedication to Sir Joshua in words 
which are of particular significance in this study. 

I can have no expectations in an address of this kind, either to 
add to your reputation or to establish my own. You can gain 
nothing from my admiration, as I am ignorant of that art in which 
you are said to excel, and I may lose much by the severity of your 
judgment, as few have a juster taste in poetry than you. Setting 
interest, therefore, aside — to which I never paid much attention 
— I must be indulged at present in following my affections. The 
only dedication I ever made was to my brother, because I loved 
him better than most other men. He is since dead. Permit me 
to inscribe this poem to you. 

There can be no doubt but that Goldsmith was the 
man for whom Sir Joshua had the greatest affection. 
Biographers of both have laid stress on their friendship. 
And while further evidence which has come to light in 
recent publications is of little real value, it makes none the 
less pleasant reading. One of Sir Joshua's nephews, for 
example, is unable to write a longer letter because *'Dr. 
Goldsmith and Uncle are at draughts close by me".^ 
This was in January, 1773, when She Stoops to Conquer^ 
which was soon to be presented, had not yet been named. 

' Letters, 182. * Sir Joshua's Nephezv, 11. 


Sir Joshua suggested he should call it The Belle s 
Stratagem^ threatening to damn the play if his title was 
not accepted, but the threat and the suggestion were dis- 
regarded by the author. Some weeks after the play had 
been successfully produced, the two were riding through 
Mayfair in Sir Joshua's coach. In Berkeley Square, 
spying Johnson and Boswell on foot, they called to them 
and offered them a ride, remarking that * ' they were at a 
loss where to go ' *. " So ", said Boswell, * ' you took us as 
guides*', to which Johnson's comment was "" I wondered, 
indeed, at their great civility". Learning that their 
friends were on their way to a dinner at General Ogle- 
thorpe's, the painter and the poet decided that they too 
would attend it, though uninvited, and the scraps of 
conversation Boswell preserved indicate that their pre- 
sence enlivened the party. ^ 

In a frantic effort to make some money Goldsmith was 
planning to bring out a Dictionary of the Arts and Sciences, 
The literary-minded Sir Joshua had offered to supply 
him with an article, presumably on painting, but the 
project fell through, and soon after, worn out with hack- 
work, debts, and fever, the gifted writer became confined 
to the bed from which he was never to arise again alive. 
On the day he died, so moved was Sir Joshua, that he 
refrained from entering his studio, which was most un- 
usual for him. 

Meanwhile the third, fourth, and fifth discourses had 
been delivered annually on the distribution of the prizes. 
Thereafter they were given on alternate years, since it 
was felt that the honour of winning the medals would 
be the greater if the awards were less frequent. After the 
third discourse had been read, the council voted to 
reserve for distinguished visitors twelve chairs, which 
should be marked *'V" and placed in the front of the 
room in which the lectures were delivered. In other 
^ Boswell Papers, vi, 126. Cf. Boswell's Life, ii, 232. 


words, the president was addressing not only students 
and members of the Academy, but a select number of 
outsiders as well. 

Until this time the discourses had met with nothing 
but approval, but after the fifth had been printed the 
inevitable reaction set in, and while this was never wide- 
spread during Sir Joshua's lifetime, it is at least deserving 
of notice. In 1774 an anonymous pamphlet was pub- 
lished, entitled Observations on the Discourses delivered at 
the Royal Academy, Addressed to the President, The author 
could ''with the greatest truth affirm" that he had not 
even a personal knowledge of Sir Joshua, and repeatedly 
refers to himself as **an obscure, unknown critic". 
Although praising the president's literary style, he 
insinuates that someone has acted as his ''taylor". His 
insulting manner is intensified by the inclusion of some 
scurrilous verses spoken by Sir Obadiah Twylight, and 
he continually sneers at Reynolds for practising what 
he calls the ''sub-fusk". His thesis is that Sir Joshua 
praises the Bolognese painters in order to secure for his 
own pictures greater admiration, that he is in danger of 
becoming ''the oracle of an auction-room \ where dirty, 
self-interested panegyrickj or abuse, as occasion requires, 
join hand in hand in deceiving the unwary publick". 
Much of his criticism of Sir Joshua's theories is justified. 
Had it been phrased in a more restrained and dignified 
manner, it would have been more effective. As it was, 
it seems to have excited no comment. 

One person, however, read the pamphlet with care. 
This was the gentleman to whom it was addressed. 
Certain passages must have caused him to resort to his 
snuff-box, but he was attentive when the critic became 
constructive. This is made evident from an examination 
of the discourse which was delivered in the following 
December. The opening remarks would seem to be an 
apology for the generalizations which he has made in his 


discourses; the details of the art he has "always left to 
the several Professors". He then launches into his 
subject, decrying those who have represented painting 
**as a kind oi inspiration^ as a ^///bestowed upon peculiar 
favourites at their birth ".^ This was merely a restate- 
ment of what he had said in his third discourse, but he 
had been misunderstood by his critic, who scornfully 
commented: *'The ancients, he tells us, ... produced 
their works, not from the study of nature . . . , but from 
a kind of poetical, enthusiastic inspiration." 

Towards the end of the discourse occurs a passage 
which is even more clearly an answer to the pamphlet. 
His critic had written : 

The young artist should be taught to consider the different 
schools, as uniting their different excellencies to form the perfect 
painter; and that he who has this object in view, should look 
upon himself as unchained, unprejudiced to the particular 
manners, of any particular school or master; he should learn to 
select what is excellent, and to reject what is vicious in them all; 
and it was incumbent upon him who is thus become his instructor, 
to have pointed out to him, with candour and impartiality, the 
merits of these different schools; to have shewn him wherein 
they have failed, wherein they have excelled. 

Is it mere coincidence that towards the end of his sixth 
discourse Sir Joshua discusses the works of the Dutch, 
the Venetians, the French, pointing out in each what 
is worthy of being imitated.^ That he had his critic in 
mind is the more likely in that he ends this review with 
the paragraph commencing : 

To find excellencies, however dispersed; to discover beauties, 
however concealed by the multitude of defects with which they 
are surrounded, can be the work only of him, who having a mind 
always alive to his art, has extended his views to all ages and to all 
schools; and has acquired from that comprehensive mass which he 
has thus gathered to himself, a well-digested and perfect idea of 
his art, to which every thing is referred.^ 

^ Worksy i, 147; cf.'iy 53 et seq, * Id.i^ 181. 


About the time that this lecture was published the 
president was again attacked in print for what he had 
written. The London Chronicle of 29—31 December, 
1774, printed the following advertisement: **In a few 
Days will be published An Inquiry into the Real and 
Imaginary Obstructions to the Acquisition of the Arts 
in England. By James Barry, Royal Academician, and 
member of the Clementine Academy of Bologna." This 
notice, repeated in the following issue, was altered in 
that of 14-17 January to read: ** Thursday next 
will be published'', etc., and on the next Thursday, 
19 January, it began: ''This day is published", etc. 
Such information is needed to disprove Tom Taylor's 
note and the later use he makes of it.^ Misled by the date 
of the dedication to the King (10 November, 1774), 
Taylor thought that the pamphlet was published in 
November and implies that Barry's discussion of genius 
influenced Sir Joshua when composing his sixth dis- 
course. Though mistaken in these respects, he is justified 
in asserting that Reynolds was being attacked. The 
passages quoted by Taylor, not only from the Inquiry 
but from Burke's letter to its author, clearly indicate 
that the impetuous young Irishman was annoyed at Sir 
Joshua's unrestrained praise of Michelangelo. Not many 
years later, when the president remonstrated with him 
for not giving his lectures as Professor of Painting, 
*' Barry with clenched iist and rude gesture replied, 'If 
I had only in composing my lectures to produce such 
poor mistaken stuff as j(?//r discourses, I should have my 
work done, and ready to read'."^ 

In spite of such animadversions Sir Joshua's prestige 
as a writer was by now established. Young Northcote 
writes: "if you want to find truth and instruction you 

^ Leslie and Taylor, ii, 59 ^/ j(?^., 92. 

^ Sandby's History of the Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1862, i, 
186. Cf. Northcote, \\y \\(^. 


must read Sir Joshuas discourses for those contain more 
than all the books put togather that have been writ before 
and there seems hardly any thing left more to say."^ 
A year earlier young Samuel Johnson had confessed: 
** I have not had the least time to read, not even Uncle's 
Discourse, which every Body has read", and soon after 
he writes: ''I did not forget Mama's commission about 
my Uncle's discourses the first time, but find it is impos- 
sible to get them except from the Bookseller."^ 

Perhaps it was because "every Body" was reading 
them and because the author's own supply of them was 
exhausted that he decided after publishing the seventh 
discourse to reprint them in a collected edition. This 
enabled him to make certain alterations, and if I am 
correct in dating a letter he wrote to Dr Johnson, these 
alterations were made late in 1777: 

I am making additions and should wish you to see it all to- 
gether. If I sent it to you now, I must send it again when those 
additions are finished, I have not courage enough to appear in 
public without your imprimatur.3 

If this letter refers to the revision for the collected edition, 
Dr Johnson must have rejected many of the additions. 
Except for the omission of three passages, the alterations 
were slight. 

Of the omissions two were from the first discourse. 
One of these was the following paragraph, which had 
appeared on the third page of the original quarto : 

It has been observed, that the Arts have ever been disposed 
to travel westward. Greece is thought to have received them from 
her more eastern neighbours. From the Greeks they migrated 
into Italy \ from thence they visited France ^ Flanders y and Holland , 
enlightening, for a time, those countries, though with diminished 
lustre; but, as if the ocean had stopped their progress, they have 

^ From an unpublished part of a letter in the Royal Academy, dated 
25 January, 1776. 

^ Sir Joshua s Nephew, 44, 86. 3 Letters, 57. 


for near an age stood still, and grown weak and torpid for want 
of motion. Let us for a moment flatter ourselves that they are 
still in being, and have at last arrived at this island. Our 
Monarch seems willing to think so, having provided such 
an Asylum for their reception, as may induce them to stay where 
they are so much honoured. 

This was doubtless omitted because of the scoffing refer- 
ence to it in the Observations on the Discourses mentioned 
above. After quoting a part of the passage the critic 

How happy then are we, in having so excellent an inn provided 
for their reception? which we hope will be an inducement to them 
to make some stay in this country; for we can assure them, that 
nothing shall be wanting on our part, to make it as commodious 
and agreeable as possible. 

The other omitted passage originally appeared in the 
middle of the discourse. Speaking of the advantages 
there are in ''seminaries of learning", the president 
maintains that it is from his equals rather than from his 
superiors that the student ' ' catches the fire of emulation ' ' 
— and the remainder of the quotation he deleted : 

which will not a little contribute to his advancement. 

But it is needless to enumerate all the benefits that will result 
from this Institution. The world seems already satisfied, that the 
Arts must be protected in order to flourish; at least, I believe, 
this assembly will not be disposed to think them unworthy of the 
regard and protection with which His Majesty has been 
pleased to honour them. 

The other changes in the opening address, four in 
number, are of slight importance. Sir Joshua inserts a 
possibly in one sentence, omits a superfluous word in 
another, and rephrases two passages. One of these will 
serve as a sample. Discussing the danger of too great a 
facility in painting, he originally said: *' there is scarce 
an instance of return to scrupulous labour, after the mind 
has been relaxed and debauched by these delightful 


trifles. ' ' The conclusion he altered to * * after the mind has 
been debauched and deceived by this fallacious mastery ". 
In every case the revisions improve the discourse. 

This applies as well to the changes which he made in 
the other discourses. In the second he qualified his praise 
of Ludovico Carracci, possibly because of the strictures 
of the anonymous critic, omitted three unessential 
phrases, and made eight minor verbal changes. The third 
discourse shows but four changes, none of which is 
important; and the fourth discourse shows but three. 
Of these one is of interest. The following passage, 
originally found in the second paragraph, was cancelled : 

[The exertion of the mental faculties] gives the superiority 
to the Painter of History over all others of our profession. No 
part of his work is produced but by an effort of the mind; there 
is no object which he can set before him as a perfect model, 
there is none which he can venture minutely to imitate, and to 
transfer with all its beauties and blemishes into his great design. 

There were no changes made in the fifth discourse, and 
the only one in the sixth was to correct a typographical 
error. The seventh was amended in four places, once to 
clarify an involved sentence, and the other three times 
to render his phraseology more concise. 

One task remained before he was ready to publish: 
a dedication had to be written. Although there was a 
marked coolness between the painter and his king, Sir 
Joshua decided to dedicate the volume to George III. 
But he felt incapable of expressing himself sufficiently 
well. ''Writing a dedication", he observed to Boswell, 
**is a knack. It is like writing an advertisement."^ He 
turned then to the friend who had written so many for 
others and to whom it **was indifferent. . .what was the 
subject of the work dedicated, provided it were inno- 
cent".^ Johnson seems to have written the dedication 

^ Boswell's Life, iv, 556. ^ Id. ii, 2. 


on 1 8 April, 1778, and performed his task with such 
success that his words have been reprinted as a model for 
all dedications.^ The reviewer in thtGentlemans Magazine 
dismissed the discourses in one flattering sentence and 
devoted the rest of his space to the dedication. What is 
more surprising is the number of biographers who have 
commended Sir Joshua for this bit of writing. Tom 
Taylor, for example, praises him for preserving ''his 
quiet dignity, even in contact with royalty".^ 

The book was published in the middle of May, 
about a month after Johnson wrote the dedication. It 
was brought out in octavo by Thomas Cadell, who had 
succeeded Davies three months earlier as printer to the 
Royal Academy. 3 For some reason it attracted little 
attention when it first appeared. It was not advertised in 
the London Chronicle until July, and the notices in the 
Monthly Review and Gentleman's Magazine were delayed 
until the issues for September and December, respec- 
tively. But this delay does not seem to have affected the 
sale of the book. In the Theatre Collection of the 
Harvard College Library is a receipt signed by Reynolds 
which indicates that the venture was a financial success : 

Receiv'd Novr. 27. 1778 of Mr Cadell Sixty two Pounds Nine 
Shillings in full for my moiety of the Profit on the first Edition 
of my Discourses (the Octavo Edition) 

J Reynolds 

As far as I know, this is the only instance of Sir 
Joshua's receiving remuneration for his writings. Cer- 
tainly he prized his sixty-odd pounds far less than his 

^ Johnsonian Miscellanies, i, 83. 

^ Leslie and Taylor, ii, 223. 

3 Minutes of the Council, 10 February, 1778: "Mr. Davies Book- 
seller and Printer to the Royal Academy becoming a Bankrupt and Mr. 
Cadell having made a voluntary offer that if he is elected Bookseller 
& Printer to the Royal Academy he will engage to give to Mrs. Davies 
20;^. , .Resolved that Mr. Cadell be appointed." 


literary reputation, which was copsiderably enhanced 
by the book. Individually the discourses were mere 
ephemeral pamphlets; collected, they took on an added 
importance, which explains why Dr Johnson expressed 
such satisfaction on the publication of this edition.^ 

' Boswell's Life^ iii, 369. 


'II mio desiderio di rivedere la vostra bella Firenze, ben 
potete credere . . . che sia ora cresciuto a molti doppi, 
essendo ora in certo modo legato e connesso con voi, e 
divenuto in qualche foggia come un vostro concittadino." 
Reynolds to Pelli, 26 January^ ^77^- 

A few months after the publication of the Seven Dis- 
courses, the lectures appeared in Italian, translated at 
Sir Joshua's request by his friend Giuseppe Baretti. 
Since this publication was brought out in the same year 
and contained the same seven discourses, it would seem 
to have been based on the English edition. Indeed, it 
is so described in the catalogue of the Bodleian Library. 
But Johnson's dedication to the King is not included, nor 
are the alterations which had been made by Sir Joshua, 
the reason being that the Italian had begun his task long 
before there was any plan of collecting the lectures in 
one volume. In a letter dated 2 1 December, 1776, little 
more than a week after the seventh had been delivered 
and before it had been published, Johnson reports that 
Baretti **has got five-and-twenty guineas by translating 
Sir Joshua's Discourses into Italian".^ 

In all probability the task had been undertaken several 
years before this. Late in 1 773 a Tuscan engraver, styled 
in official documents as "Luigi, son of Cosimo Siries",- 
was commissioned by Grand Duke Peter Leopold I 

^ Boswell's Life, iii, 96 et seq. 

^ The name Siries among eighteenth-century Florentines had the same 
connotation in art as has Roosevelt in American politics or Barrymore in 



to acquire certain books for use in the Cabinet of Medals 
at Florence. From a letter of his preserved among the 
archives in the Uffizi we know that he had left Paris by 
the end of the year, had gone to Brussels, and was about 
to proceed to Antwerp, the Hague, and Amsterdam. 
From here he must have gone to London, since in July, 
shortly after his return to Florence, he addressed a peti- 
tion to his sovereign wherein he stated that while in 
London he had been asked to express to the Grand Duke 
Sir Joshua Reynolds's desire to add his self-portrait to 
the famous collection begun by the Medici. It was Siries 
who wrote Sir Joshua in September that the Grand Duke 
was only too pleased to accept the offer; it was to Siries 
that the completed portrait was sent the following year ; 
and it was in care of Siries that Sir Joshua later addressed 
his two letters on the same subject to the Director of the 
Gallery, Giuseppe Pelli. From 1774 to 1776 the two 
men were in communication with each other. 

In the course of this correspondence Sir Joshua may 
well have made some passing reference to his discourses, 
as he did, for instance, in his first letter to Pelli. Perhaps 
Siries responded by expressing the wish that Italians 

the theatre to-day. One of the later Medici Grand Dukes, the weak but 
art-loving Ferdinand II, had summoned to his court Louis or Luigi 
Siries, a Frenchman famous for his work in pietra dura. "The large 
tables in the Pitti Gallery with a porphyry groundwork, and with repre- 
sentations of shells and flowers delicately shaded, are all the work of Luigi 
and Carlo Siries." (Horner, as quoted in Col. G. F. Young's The 
Medici, London, 1909, ii, 422.) One of his descendants, born in Florence 
in 17 10, was Violante Beatrice Siries, the painter. In 1740 a Louis 
Siries who had been goldsmith to Louis XV settled in Florence and 
became director of the Grand Ducal Gallery, dying shortly after 1766. 
"The e.igraver of the same name or whose initials at least are the same 
is a distinct person, possibly a son of Louis Siries. To the latter belong 
the dies of the later coinage of Pietro Leopoldo II, Ferdinand III, and 
Ludovico III from some time after 1767 to 1803 and the medal dated 
1 8 1 1 of the Crusca Academy . . . .Nagler, Schlickeysen-Pallman, and 
the others are in error in saying that Louis Siries flourished 1747-95 or 
1803 ." (Forrer's Biographical Dictionary of Medallists, London, 1 9 1 2 .) 


might have the privilege of reading these discourses in 
their own language, which would have led Reynolds to 
reply that Baretti was in fact engaged in translating them. 
In any case when Siries learned that such a project was 
in progress he voluntarily offered to see the volume 
through the press, and to this both author and translator 
readily acquiesced. 

It must have been at this time that Baretti received his 
five-and-twenty guineas. He then completed his work, 
secured the author's approval, and sent the manuscript 
to his step-brother Paul, Sardinian consul in Leghorn, 
requesting him to deliver it to the editor. By June, 1778, 
the Florentine had received the text, and soon after he 
transmitted it to his printer in Leghorn. A few months 
later the book was published in Florence and seems to 
have met with an enthusiastic reception. The review in 
he Novelle Letterarie for September, though written by 
Baretti's enemy Marco Lastri, who had spoken of him 
most sarcastically in the same periodical two months 
earlier, was distinctly favourable. One might suppose 
that both author and translator would have been pleased 
at the undoubted success which the book had scored, 
but such was not the case. 

For to his intense surprise and indignation Baretti 
discovered that the edition scarcely resembled the ori- 
ginal manuscript. His preface in the form of a letter to 
Siries had been discarded, and in its stead the editor 
had substituted one of his own composition. He had 
tampered as well with the text of the discourses and had 
even altered the title-page, omitting incidentally any 
mention of the translator's name. As might be expected 
Baretti was furious, and no one who recalls his strictures 
on ' Ma Piozzi ' ' or his behaviour with the London prosti- 
tute who assaulted him, will imagine that he suffered in 
silence. According to his friend Dr Johnson, it was ever 
his desire to appear frank, manly, and independent, and 


on the same good authority we know that his conception 
of independence was simple rudeness. In this instance 
his conduct was characteristic. 

Goaded by an explanation which Siries wrote him on 
the 3rd of November and by a slighting phrase of Lastri^s, 
the enraged Baretti forthwith composed an open letter 
in which with a savageness seldom displayed he merci- 
lessly lashed the faithless editor and the equally culpable 
reviewer. Privately printed in London, the four-page 
pamphlet was distributed gratis throughout Italy and 
particularly in Tuscany. On account of its character this 
leaflet is now extremely rare, and though it has been 
reprinted in Baretti^s collected works, it has never been 
translated into English. For this reason and because 
the invective reveals so well the feelings of the injured 
translator, I have thought it worth including here. One 
wonders what the calm Sir Joshua thought while reading 

London, 13 December, 1778. 

That you are anything but literate, Signor Luigi Siries, you 
need not bother to tell mej nor did I entrust my translation of 
the Discourses on Painting to you because I thought you were. 
How could I have so deceived myself after having read the various 
things you had written to me? From these it is sufficiently clear 
that you have never studied the grammar of your native tongue; 
it is equally clear that you know no more of its spelling. My 
translation I entrusted to you on the sole assumption that you 
possessed that portion of honesty which even more ignorant men 
can possess when they will; I entrusted it to you on the supposi- 
tion that what I sent to you would have been printed under your 
supervision, according to your voluntary offer to Sir Joshua 

^ In his admirable edition of Baretti 's Prefazioni e Polemic he (Bari, 
191 1, 390) Prof. Luigi Piccioni asserts that there is a copy in the 
Biblioteca Nazionale-centrale at Florence inscribed by the author: "Al- 
Tillustrissimo e dottissimosignore — il dottor Giovanni Targioni — Firenze 
(Italy)" The copy has disappeared. In a recent article by Prof. 
Piccioni (^Alexandria, Dec. 1935) there is an excerpt from an un- 
published letter of Baretti 's which shows that his attack on Siries and 
Lastri was carried on at least as late as 1780. 


Reynolds and your promise to myself. Realizing, as you did, 
your lack of training and your ignorance of the colloquial, to say 
nothing of the literary language of your country, how could you 
have been so bold as to put your hand to my translation? How 
could you have had the impudence to heap upon me all your 
blunders, vulgarisms, and barbarisms? It may be, as you tell me 
in your last letter, that Florentine artists could not have understood 
it because of its rhetorical periods, or, as you express it with 
bombastic stupidity, could not "have deciphered its recondite 
circumlocutions of eloquence".' And who has told you, Signor 
Luigi,that in order to deliver ignorant artists from their ignorance, 
you must therefore write in your clumsy style and confuse the 
educated with a debauched and absurd jargon? And who has 
told you, moreover, that the labour of translating these discourses 
should have been undergone solely for your petty and ignorant 
artists? Because the artists of Florence are in your presumptuous 
opinion a pack of asses, my dear Signor Luigi Siries, superlative 
ass that you are, must you re-do a thing of mine, or rather un-do 
it, degrading the language, corrupting the style, distorting the 
thought, and polluting the whole with your imbecilities, that it 
may be intelligible to your long-eared brethren? 

And yet, Signor Luigi, on the sixteenth of last June you wrote 
me that upon receiving it you submitted it to the judgment of 
those very artists, to whom you applied the epithet " enlightened ", 
and that they had, to use your odious phrase, "testified to the 
pleasure which had been rendered to the light ".^ How does it 
happen, friend of my bosom, that on the sixteenth of June the 
Florentine artists are enlightened and that on the third of 
November they have become so blind as not even to understand 
what is written in my consistently chaste style? How has such 
a deplorable metamorphosis taken place in so few months ? More- 
over you thanked me in the name of Senator Federighi for having 
given to Italy such a polished performance. Why then render it 
so ugly in so many places with so many stupidities of your own 
invention? Why mar the very title with a grammatical blunder 
after that gentleman had approved of it and, even though un- 
acquainted with me, had kindly charged you to extend to me his 
congratulations? To add to the impertinence — nay, to put the 
finishing touch to your bad faith — you have suppressed my name, 
"thinking that the merit of a translator would be of no value to 

^ "dicifrata nel misterioso giro dell'eloquenza." 
^ "testificato il piacere che si desse alia luce." 


a man of letters who can acquire fame from his own productions ".' 
But why "think" that that is not a "production", if I too must 
use this ugly word? Whatever you may have "thought", why 
didn't you first ask me whether I did or did not value that 
"merit"? And what advantage might you expect to procure for 
my translation by depriving it of my name? To me it seems 
clear enough that my name does belong to it, since I am secretary 
of that Academy in which the original discourses were delivered 
from time to time by the President, and since I translated those 
originals under his very eyes. Why, stupid and spiteful little dolt, 
why not allow the names of two old friends to remain coupled, 
so that the world might reasonably suppose the translator unlikely 
to have departed a whit from the author's conception? 

However, explain to me one small point, Signor Luigi Siries; 
since I put no great value on an object, shall I permit any pick- 
pocket to steal it from me? Confess the truth, my petty thief, 
confess it to me! You stole my small portion of "merit", not in 
the least with the idea that "I put no value on it", but in order 
falsely to attribute to yourself a work of mine, whereby you could 
pass in your own city for a greater person than you are. That this 
was your cunning design I discern from an equivocal passage in 
your shallow and contemptible preface, wherein you state craftily 
and in two vapid and awkward phrases that "the translation was 
born on the Thames" and that "it has since taken new form on 
the Arno". With these pseudo-poetic words you wished to give 
the impression to your fellow-Florentines that you yourself trans- 
lated Sir Joshua's discourses when you were here in London, 
and that afterwards, returning home, you polished them at your 
ease. Bravo, Signor Luigi, and bravo. Provost Lastri, who to help 
forward your thievish design has commented quite as craftily 
upon those ambiguous words of yours, softly insinuating in the 
thirty-sixth number of the Novelle Letter arie that "the editor of 
the book seems to be the translator as well". Disreputable 
swindlers, both of you ! Are you courting the literary world with 
this information? Do you stand to gain from these lies? And 
why isn't that rascally priest ashamed to be in league with a Luigi 
Siries, assisting him to commit a theft of this sort? But leave him 
to me, for at his convenience I can pay him very well for his 
thievish practices and can point out to him the true profession of 
the priest and provost. 

^ "pensando che il merito di traduttore non sia da valutarsi per niente 
da un letterato che sa distinguersi colle sue proprie produzioni." 


I turn once more to you — with reason did my brother Paul 
write to me from Leghorn, when I sent him my manuscript so 
that you might have it: "would that I might have nothing at all 
to do with Signor Luigi Siries; sickly, debauched, full of vanity, 
tricks, and mischief, he is a toady to every gentleman in his native 
city". I, however, deceived by your letters which breathed of 
modesty throughout, and trapped by your insidious offers, replied 
that he should think twice before believing the evil he had heard 
of you, and that he should send my manuscript to you with such 
entire faith as not even to retain a copy of it. So much the worse 
for me then if you have played a trick on me, and my manuscript 
has been destroyed ! I have no excuse for having been too ready 
to trust you, except that when I have no clear proof to the con- 
trary, I am in the habit of considering everyone honest, and that 
from a brief correspondence it is not too easy to distinguish the 
blackguard from the honest man. So much the better, however, 
since by means of my experience I have forced you, willy-nilly, 
to tear off your mask; I have made you reveal yourself what I had 
not thought you — a thorough-going blackguard. What punish- 
ment the laws of Tuscany might mete out to you for an offence of 
this unusual sort, were I to appeal to them, I know not. I do 
know, however, that I shall take pains, even though far away, 
to make you known as a complete rogue to those who do not 
know you as yet, whereby anyone who is unwary may guard 
himself from you and your rascally dirty tricks. And in the hope 
of impressing your countrymen with your perfidious character 
I shall not neglect mentioning your supreme insolence in having 
suppressed, traitor that you are, my Letter to the Editor, in which 
were some respectful allusions to that most august personage who 
has the charitable clemency to give you your bread. Why, lazy 
beggar, refer solely to a sovereign unknown to you, who has 
magnanimously assisted the arts, instead of coupling him, as I did 
in that letter, with your Grand Duke, who is equally magnani- 
mous in his own sphere.? Nor need you answer that you were 
unwilling to print my letter because it was addressed to you. 
Didn't I tell you to place it at the beginning of the book without 
your name if you feared that such an honour might earn for you 
the envy and ill-will of your fellow-Florentines? 

My disclosure of your worthlessness will be slight chastisement 
to a petty thief who makes off to Italy with a work carefully 
composed by an honest and experienced scholar, only to give in 
exchange a clumsy affair, debased and marred from beginning to 
end by a headstrong young vagabond, ignorant of the grammar as 


well as the spelling of his native tongue. But what else can I do 
in this case? At such a distance how can I punish you more 
severely so that proper justice may be had ? So then, most amiable 
little Signor Luigi, rejoice exceedingly in the infamous trick which 
together with Provost Lastri you have played upon me, and laugh 
since you have cause to. Farewell, remarkable and foremost 
champions of Florentine language, literature, and integrity. I 
salute you both very dearly. 

Baretti of course is anything but dispassionate. One 
wonders whether there was anything to be said on the 
other side. At least one of the remarks made by Siries 
in his letters to Baretti seems to have been true — that in 
which he accuses his fellow-artists of being petty and 
ignorant. **Here'*, writes Horace Mann at about this 
time, **is neither Painter, Engraver, nor Sculptor above 
the most common class. The best of the latter sort is a 
drunken Englishman whose whole employment is to 
make chimney pieces for the Palace, and some for Russia, 
whose Empress buys everything, good or bad, that her 
emissaries can find in Italy."^ But though Siries objected 
to Baretti's rhetoric,. the original version could scarcely 
have been less intelligible to his long-eared brethren. 
The brief excerpts given from the Florentine's letters 
reveal his fondness for the ornate, and this characteristic 
is the more pronounced in the book he sponsored. 

The style is stilted, but I have noticed only one 
passage which might be considered a faulty translation. 
Speaking of the grand style of painting in his third dis- 
course. Sir Joshua wrote : ''Every language has adopted 
terms expressive of this excellence. The gusto grande of 
the Italians, the beau ideal of the French, and the great 
style^ genius^ and taste among the English, are but dif- 
ferent appellations of the same thing." The translation 
reads: '*Ogni idioma a delle frasi esprimenti quella tale 

^ Doran's 'Mann^ and Manners at the Court of Florence, 1 740-1 786, 
London, 1876, ii, 373 et seq. 


eccellenza, e il Gusto grandioso degl' Italian i, il Bella ideale 
de' Frances!, lo Stile grande^ il Genio^ o il Gusto degl' 
Inglesi, non son altro che appellativi diversi d' una cosa 
medesima." One might expect the foreign terms to have 
been retained, as was done in the French and German 

In his preface Siries comments in a flattering way upon 
the author of the discourses and upon George III, who 
had made possible the formation of a Royal Academy, 
but, as Baretti indicates, he neglects to mention his own 
sovereign, who had displayed much energy and enthu- 
siasm in adding to the great collection which the Medici 
had formed. The editor remarks that he knows Reynolds 
only through the discourses and the self-portrait at 
Florence, a print from which serves as frontispiece to 
the book. He then comments on the translation itself 
in a passage which Baretti quoted: **Ella e nata sul 
Tamigi e quasi sotto gli occhi dell' Autore, per la parte 
della corrispondenza dei sentimenti coll' originale; ma 
ella a preso nuova forma sull' Arno, quant' all' eleganza 
e alia correzione dello stile" — a passage which, when we 
know the facts in the case, reveals a certain amount of 
dexterity in the writer. 

What Sir Joshua thought of the matter we may infer 
from the fact that none of the later discourses appeared 
in Italian. Siries closed his preface by declaring that if 
the reading public were satisfied with his performance 
and if the author should honour him by sending him copies 
of subsequent lectures, he would bring out a second 
volume. That the reading public was satisfied is indicated 
by favourable reviews and a second edition. A writer 
in Efemeridi Letterarie di Roma, for example, comments 
as follows: "Noi confessiamo ingenuamente, che non 
abbiam sinora letto altro libro su di questa materia, 
scritto con maggior raffinamento di buon gusto, e con 
piu gran maturita di senno." In 1787, nine years after 


the Florentine edition, another was brought out, printed 
in Venice and published in Bassano. And the translation 
circulated not only in Italy, but in France and Germany 
as well, although the Germans had already had the 
opportunity of reading the discourses in their own lan- 

In 1769, the year in which the Academy officially 
opened, the first discourse had been noticed in a Leipzig 
periodical, Neue Bihliothek der schonen Wissenschaften und 
derjreyen Kunste^ and a translation of it had been included 
in the next volume. Brief notices of the second and third 
discourses later appeared with promises to print transla- 
tions as soon as possible. The second came out in 1773 
and the third a year later. The fourth, fifth, sixth, and 
seventh followed, the second instalment of the last of 
these being published early in 1780. In the same year 
there was a notice of the Italian edition, and by this time 
the English edition of 1778 was in circulation. 

It was this that inspired a similar edition in German, 
published at Dresden in 178 1. I have assumed that the 
translator was Kosmeli, the art critic. In the preface, 
dated 20 July, 1780, and signed "A. E. K.", he calls 
attention to the revisions Sir Joshua had made for the 
collected edition and criticizes the translations which had 
been published in Neue Bihliothek^ declaring that his is 
superior to these not only because it is "nach der letzten 
Originalausgabe" but also because he has corrected 
'Vieler Fehler und Nachlassigkeiten'', the mistakes his 
predecessor had made through ignorance or carelessness. 
''Man hat sich dabey bemlihet, die Gedanken des Herrn 
Verfassers mit eben der Deutlichkeit, Kiirze und Pra- 
cision in unserer Sprache auszudriicken wie sie in dem 
Originate mit so vielem Scharfsinn vorgetragen sind." 
He concludes as did Siries with the promise to translate 
the succeeding discourses, should the present volume 
have the good fortune to meet with approval. Unlike 


Siries he lived up to his promise, publishing at Hamburg 
the complete works of Reynolds in 1 802. 

Meanwhile the editor oiNeue Bibliothek seems to have 
been but slightly affected by his rival's strictures. To be 
sure, of the remaining discourses only the tenth and 
thirteenth were translated, but in flattering notices of the 
eighth and fourteenth was expressed the usual hope that 
they as well might soon be rendered into German for 
the benefit of his readers. Nor was this the extent of 
his connection with Reynolds. The translation of the 
thirteenth discourse inspired an attack on Sir Joshua's 
theories which was published in the next volume of the 
magazine. After dissecting and examining the discourse, 
the author demonstrated what many writers have since 
done, that Sir Joshua is not always logical in his deduc- 
tions. But what is of more interest than the attack itself 
is the attitude of the editor, who explains in a prefatory 
note that he does not agree with the sentiments expressed 
in the article, feeling "dass der Verf. seinen Gegner fast 
nie verstanden hat". Throughout the essay the editor 
has inserted notes to prove this point, and at the conclu- 
sion he has written that though the essayist has revealed 
himself a careful student of aesthetic theories, he should 
"study as thoroughly the feeling of the ^r//j/and he will 
find in the discourse truth instead of paradox, though 
it is concealed by a somewhat involved phraseology".^ 

Before this had been written, the discourses had been 
translated into French. Indirectly at least this was the 
result of another attack on Sir Joshua's theories, launched 
by an artist whom Reynolds had known in his younger 
days when a student at Rome. In 1783 appeared the 
biography of Anton Raphael Mengs, who had died 
four years earlier. In this Mengs was quoted as having 
remarked; ''That the book of the English Reynolds 
would lead youth into error, because it abandons them to 
^ Neue Bibliothek, xxxvi (1788), 202 n. 


superficial principles, the only ones known to that 
author."^ Soon after the publication of this biography 
the writings of the German Mengs, Principal Painter 
to the King of Spain, were translated from the Italian 
into French by a Dutchman, Hendrik Jansen, who 
thereupon wrote the following letter to **the English 

Paris y ce II Septemhre, 1786. 

La critique que M. Mengs fait, en passant, dans ses oeuvres, 
de vos Discours lus a F Academie Royale de Peinture de Londres, 
me les a faits relire; et c'est avec un nouveau plaisir que j'en ai 
admire et le fond et la forme; ce qui m'a engage a les traduire 
dans I'intention de les publier, afin que les lecteurs fran9ois qui 
ne savent pas Tanglais, soient a meme de juger la severite un peu 
hazardee de M. Mengs, qui avoit quelquefois un peu d'humeur 
atrabilaire, ainsi que le remarke M. Cumberland dans ses Anec- 
dotes of Eminent Painters in Spain? Je me suis porte avec d'autant 
plus d'empressement a faire une traduction frangaise de votre 
ouvrage. Monsieur, que c'est une espece de reparation que je 
vous dois, comme traducteur des oeuvres de M. Mengs en deux 
volumes in quarto^ qui vont bientot paroitre, et dont j'aurais 
Thonneur de vous faire passer un exemplaire, si cela vous fait 
plaisir. Je crois cependant. Monsieur, que I'honnetete qu'on doit 
surtout aux hommes d'un talent superieur, ne me permet pas 
d'imprimer ma traduction sans votre consentement. Je vous prie 
done de me I'accorder, et en meme temps de vouloir bien me 
communiquer, dans ce cas, ce que vous pouvez avoir donne 
depuis Tedition de 17782 de vos Seven Discourse s^ ainsi que les 
notes que vous pouvez juger a propos. Monsieur, d'y ajouter. 
Vous m'obligerez infiniment en ayant ces complaisances; et c'est 
un nouveau service que vous rendrez a I'art, qui vous doit deja 
tant. Je tacherai de mon cote de rendre ma traduction digne de 
I'originale. Ainsi, Monsieur, je n'attends que votre reponse pour 
commencer mon impression sur laquelle je confererai avec un 

^ Nort/icote, ii, 318. Cf. (Euvres Completes d"" Antoine-Raphael Mengs 
(Jansen's translation), Paris, 1787, i, 52. 

^ Cumberland's remarks on Mengs are reprinted by Northcote (ii, 
318 ^/ seq}). 

3 Incorrectly printed 1788 in Cotton's Notes^ 65, from which the text 
of this letter has been taken. No other textual changes have been made- 


peintre fran^ais qui a la traduction italienne de votre ouvrage, 
dont il ne park qu'avec enthousiasme. 

J'ai rhonneur d'etre, avec la consideration la plus distinguee, 
Monsieur, votre tres humble et tres obeissant serviteur, 


V Inspecteur General de V Academle Royale de Mus'ique. 
Rue de Bondy, No. 23. T.S.F.P. 

P.S. — Si vous aviez, Monsieur, k me faire passer quelquechose 
soit livre ou papier, je vous prie de Tenvoyer a M. Guyon de 
Saint Prix, Directeur de Diligences de France dans Picadily, sous 
une seconde enveloppe a M. St. Georges, Directeur des Messa- 
geries Royales k Paris, qui m'a permis de me servir de cette voye. 

To this request Sir Joshua willingly consented, con- 
signing to him what the translator wished, as may be 
seen from the following letter, which is here published 
for the first time through the courtesy of its present owner, 
Frederick S. Peck, Esq., of Bolton Court, Barrington, 

R I • 

London Oct. 2^ 1786 

Dear Sir 

I have sent according to your direction all the Discourses since 
the year 1776. I have likewise inclosed the translation of Fresnoy 
by M"". Mason, to which by his desire I added notes, those notes 
I apprehend may be usefull to Artists as they^ enter more into 
the detail of the art than I allowed myself to do in my Discourses 

As I have no doubt there is already a translation in French of 
Fresnoy, you may possibly think it worth while to republish it 
and add those notes. 

I intended sending the Volume of the Seven Discourses but 
forgot to put it up with the rest. If you have it not^ in your 
possession I will immediatly send it. 

The first Discourse was translated into French in the year 
1769 and it appeard to me very well done, it was printed de 
llmprimerie de Michel Lambert rue de Cordeliers au College 
de Burgogne, but if it should not be easily procured I can send 
you one. 

I find I have been guilty of a mistake in not directing the little 

^ The next two words, treat of, have been deleted. 
^ He first intended to write ''''li you have not got it"; got was deleted 
and // inserted in its present position. 


Box to M^. St. George, it is directed to yourself which I hope 
you will receive safe. 

I have only to add that I am very much flatter'd that my Dis- 
courses have met with your approbation and think myself much 
honourd in having them translated into the French language by 
your hand 

I am with the greatest respect 
your most humble 

and most obedient servant 

,,r .T Joshua Reynolds 

a Mon'^ Jansen *' 

Inspecteur General de I'Academie Royale 

de Musique Rue de Bondi no. 23 

This letter Jansen received eight days later, and on it he 
drafted his reply : 

Paris October 10^^. 1786. 
This three days ago I received the little box with your Discourses 
since the year 1776 and the translation of Du Frenoy's poem by 
M"*. Mason; but I receive only in the moment the letter you 
favourd me with the 2^. of this month. I am very sensible, Sir, 
at your obliging attention. I will make the best use I can of your 
works, and hope you will be satisfied of the translation of all your 
Discourses, as you appear to be of that of the first printed in 1 769 
by Lambert. I have not seen yet that translation, but hope to 
find it; else I will take the liberty to ask it you. 

I have the volume of your Seven Discourses; and all is yet 
translated, and ready for the impression with w[h]ich I will begin 
as soon as I shall have seen that of the first discourse you speak of 

You[r] idea, Sear, of joining your notes to the translation of 
t)u Frenoy's poem is very good; and I hope to make one day use 
of it because that work will then be much more interesting and 
more useful! for artists. 

If you like it. Sear, I will send you my translation from the 
German of Some Pieces concerning the arts by Winckelmann 
and of his letters concerning the Discoveries made at Hercu- 
lan[e]um &c. 

I hope you will pardon my bad English in favor of my good 

I am &c. 

Jansen wasted little time in submitting his work to the 
censor, who approved it on 9 November. A month later 


Sir Joshua delivered his thirteenth discourse, and in 
January, 1787, as soon as it came from the ** Printers 
men ", he sent this to him, accompanied by a letter which 
is in my possession.^ But the edition as a whole was not 
ready for publication until the following summer. The 
Privilege du Roi, dated 22 August, was finally registered 
on 31 August. 

An experienced translator, Jansen did his work well. 
In addition to the thirteen discourses which had by then 
been delivered he included, not a French translation of 
Dufresnoy's Art of Fainting^ as Reynolds had suggested, 
but a resume of the poem with Sir Joshua's notes ap- 
pended. Johnson's dedication to the king he omitted, 
substituting for it one to the members of the Academy, 
which Reynolds had originally written for the opening 
address only. The translation itself is intelligent, and 
a few additional notes are supplied, perhaps by the author 
himself. The edition is prefaced by a brief account of the 
formation of the Academy and a laudatory paragraph on 
the author which illustrates the estimation in which he 
was held : 

Vouloir faire I'eloge que M. Reynolds merite, tant par ses 
talens superieurs comme artiste h comme ecrivain sur son art, 
que par le service qu'il a rendu a sa patrie en parvenant a etablir 
une Academie dont 11 fait lui-meme le principal ornement, ce 
seroit repeter ce que personne n'ignore, & par consequent blesser 
inutilement la modestie de M. Reynolds. Nous nous conten- 
terons done de remarquer, avec le traducteur Italien des sept 
premiers Discours, qu'ils sont tous remplis de vues saines, in- 
genieuses & fines; & que, malgre les discussions abstraites dans 
lesquelles I'Auteur est quelquefois entraine par la nature de la 
matiere qu'il traite, les principes dont il se sert sont si simples, 
si clairs, & presentes avec tant d'ordre ^ de methode que les 
personnes les moins instruites peuvent, en les meditant, se former 
des idees precises de I'art, ainsi que des beautes qui distinguent 
les differentes ecoles, h particulierement celles d'ltalie. 

^ Letters^ 172. 


As soon as the book was printed Jansen sent the author 
several copies. Sir Joshua's answer/ which escaped my 
attention when I was editing his letters, is particularly- 
important because of the reference to his plan of bringing 
out a companion volume to the 1778 edition, a plan which 
never matured. The opening sentence presumably refers 
to a request for presentation copies : 

Dear Sir! 

I have here-with sent you, according to your desire, du 
Fresnoy's translation, and the volume of Discourses; the second 
volume will not be completed till next year; that is, those quarto 
Discourses will not be collected into an octavo volume, till 
another Discourse is added; which will not be till december loth. 
1788, when I will certainly take care to have them bound in the 
same manner and sent you. 

I return you many thanks for the copies of your translation, 
which I received safe. I admire the translation very much: my 
approbation is of no great value; but having put it into the hands 
of some of my friends who are better judges, they speak of it in 
the highest terms, particularly a french gentleman who resides 
here.^ A connoisseur, and equally a master both of the french 
and english language, says that it has so much facility and elegance 
that it has not the appearance of a translation, but reads like an 
original work; this I apprehend is the highest commendation 
that a translation can receive. 

I confess I am very much flatterd by the attention you have 
given to this work, and very proud I am to see myself strutting 
in so elegant a dress. 

I hope the french artists will think better of it than M. Mengs 
did. That it has faults enough there is no doubt; but it appears 
very strange that M. Mengs should think that superficial which 
endeavours to fix the principles of art on the great and general 
principles of all other arts, and on the invariable conduct of nature. 

I am, etc., 

J. Reynolds. 
London, Nov. 19th. 1787. 

^ Printed in Jansen's CEuvres Completes du Chevalier Josui Reynolds^ 
Paris, 1 806, i, x et seq. 

^ In all probability Noel Desenfans, with whom Sir Joshua was 
intimate. They had dined together on 14 October. 


Whatever the French artists may have thought of it, 
the book found its way into the libraries of the two most 
important crowned ladies of the day. Marie Antoinette's 
copy is still to be seen in the Biblioth^que Nationale, 
though she may never have read it. Catherine the Great, 
however, did read hers — read it **with the greatest 
avidity" and pronounced it "the best work that ever was 
wrote on the subject". She instructed her ambassador, 
Count Woronzow ("very little more animated than an 
oyster", according to Horace Mann),^ to present the 
painter with a jewelled snuff-box accompanied by the 
following note in her hand : "Pour le Chevalier Reynolds 
en temoinage du contentement que j'ai ressentie a la 
lecture de ses excellens discours sur la peinture'V ^^ 
object which the recipient used to display with pride on 
state occasions. 

With Jansen Sir Joshua seems to have kept in touch 
until the end of his life. Shortly before he died, he 
received from the translator a promise to bring out a 
complete edition of his writings in French, which was 
done in i8o6.3 

Though he did not live long enough to see this. Sir 
Joshua witnessed the steady growth of his literary fame 
throughout the continent. His friend the Princess 
Daschaw planned to translate his writings into Russian, "^ 
and he had the satisfaction of knowing that they were 
read as well in Germany, Italy, and France. He dis- 
regarded the Italian proverb that translators are traitors 
("I traduttori sono traditori"). We know that he asked 
Baretti to make the Italian translation; we have his own 
word to prove that he was proud to see himself strutting 
in French. Hence in neglecting this phase of his career 
his biographers have not done for him all that he would 

^ Doran's ^Mann^ and Manners at the Court of Florence, London, 
1876, ii, 20. - Boswell's Life, iii, 370. 

3 Jansen, op. cit. i, vii. '^ Cotton's Notes, 72. 



have wished. Even Malone, who knew him intimately, 
thus displays his ignorance of the subject: "The first 
seven of the Discourses have been translated into French, 
and I believe into Italian; and doubtless a complete 
translation of all our author's works, in each of those 
languages, will soon appear."^ That so close a friend 
knew no more than this shows, not that the author was 
unconcerned with his reputation, but that, modest by 
nature, he kept all these things and pondered them in his 

^ Works, i, xlv. 


"He is always the same man; the same philosophical, the 
same artist-like critick, the same sagacious observer, with 
the same minuteness, without the smallest degree of 
trifling," Burke on Sir Joshua. 

Before 1778 Sir Joshua can hardly be considered a man 
of letters. A few random notes on Shakespeare, a few 
letters to the Idler^ and some lectures delivered at the 
Academy constituted his published writings and were 
not important enough to make their author famous. With 
the publication of the collected edition of the discourses 
came a change, and henceforth the painter spent a con- 
siderable amount of his spare time amusing himself with 
his pen. As was to have been expected, the bulk of his 
writings referred directly to his profession, and in the 
remaining fourteen years of his life we find him anno- 
tating Dufresnoy's Art of Paintings recording his ob- 
servations on Flemish and Dutch paintings, drawing up 
on behalf of the Academy addresses to Their Majesties, 
penning a defence of himself in connection with a quarrel 
he was having with the Academicians, and jotting down 
his opinions on theories of beauty or on particular 
paintings which gave him food for thought. All this 
of course was in addition to the discourses which he 
continued to give biennially to students of the Academy. 
One of these essays has only recently been identified 
as Sir Joshua's. Mr Whitley has discovered that the 
advertisement for Poggi's exhibition of fan painting in 


1 78 1, although signed by Poggi, was written by his 
friend Sir Joshua. What he has written, as Mr Whitley 
observes, is more than a mere advertisement. It is an 
essay of some six hundred words, devoted to the pro- 
position *'that none of the inferior arts are ever likely to 
be improved unless undertaken by men who may be said 
to be above them; such persons will infuse into those 
lower departments a style of elegance which will raise 
them far above their natural rank".^ 

In the summer of the year in which he wrote this Sir 
Joshua, accompanied by his friend Philip Metcalfe, 
journeyed to the Netherlands to examine Dutch and 
Flemish pictures. With these he had never been im- 
pressed, adopting from writers like Count Algarotti the 
opinion that **they aimed more at charming the senses 
than at captivating the understanding'*.^ Ten years 
before he made this journey Sir Joshua had declared 
that Rubens, greatest of Flemish painters, was grosser 
than the Venetians "and carried all their mistaken 
methods to a far greater excess'*. The Dutch, he con- 
tinued, had still more ''locality". **Some inferior dex- 
terity, some extraordinary mechanical power is appar- 
ently that from which they seek distinction. "3 Definitely 
prejudiced, then, against such pictures, he set out to 
discover whether or not he had been justified in his cen- 
sures. The diary of his trip was printed by Leslie and 
Taylor, who also included two letters Sir Joshua wrote 
to Burke while travelling.4 Since the publication of my 
edition of the letters a third to Burke has come to light, 
which is now in my possession. 

Rote rdam Aug. 10. 1781 
Dear Sir 

I wrote from Brussels in a great hurry and now that I have 
more leasure have nothing that appears to me worth writing 

^ Whitley, ii, 1 1 1 et seq. ^ Cf. post, p. 121. 

3 Works, i, 103 et seq. '^ Leslie and Taylor, ii, 329-38, 645 et seq. 


about except the Pictures and that is too long an affair to begin 
upon, it has raised my Idea of Rubens upon the whole I shall 
have materials to form a more correct judment of the rank he 
ought to hold when I have seen Dusseldorp where we intend 

Roterdam has a more extraordinary appearance, is more 
striking than any thing we have hitherto seen, in many parts it 
has the appearance of Venice. But the Keys^ are magnificent, 
rows of fine houses, high at least and fine in their half a mile long 
perfectly in a strait line with a Row of Elms between the houses 
and the ships which lye close to the Quey so that the branches 
touch the masts whilst on the other side the Canal the shiping 
have for their background the rows of Trees with houses 
appearing between them this uncommon mixture of Trees 
houses and ships you may imagine has an extraordinary effect. 

The Country is not calculated for a Landskip painter, tho 
I am no great Enemy to strait lines yet here is a little too much 
of it, their dykes a[re] miles long without the least curviture but 
it is still very striking, and their patience and perseverance to 
throw up such a quantity of earth, or cut such canals must raise 
the admiration of every traveller. 

I observe allmost all the houses which have not been lately 
built are out of the perpendicular and lean forward I think full 
as much as the tower at Pisa and would be as much remarked if 
they were as high. 

The horses here as well as in Flanders a[re] nobler animal [s] 
than ours, they have more substance the Cows and oxen are of a 
much neater make they are all spotted black and white among 
many hundreds which we saw comeing hither we saw but one 
red cow — 

Here is nothing to be seen in the Picture way so we shall leave 
it tomorrow for the Hague — I wish I had had the precaution to 
have made memorandums of whatever occurred but sitting down 
to write and not mention[ing]^ anything of pictures where I have 
made very copious observations, I dont know where to begin for 
every thing is to a certain degree particular, the women here seem 
better than those we left at Antwerp, what the Gentlewomen 

^ In endeavouring to correct his spelling here he has worn a hole 
through the page. Where he used the word a few lines later he first 
spelled it "Key". 

^ This word occurs at the end of a line. The last three letters were 
written off the page, the loop of the "g" alone appearing. 


are there we had no means of knowing they being all in the 
country, but the ordinary people are the most ordinary I ever say 
I think without one exception they were all ugly. 

We have had a very pleasant tour hitherto and are very well 
pleased with each other as much leasureas I thought I had I find 
the messenger is come for my letter so am obliged to conclude 

Yours most affectionatly 

J Reynolds 

This letter belongs to Antwerp according to promise^ but we 
travellers cannot do everything just as they choose 

A comparison of the diary and this letter reveals that 
despite his regrets at having made no "memorandums", 
he was writing to Burke with his diary open before him. 
Thus on the 5th of August when at Antwerp he noted: 
**The horses of Flanders like Rubens, horses nobler still 
than ours." So at least the entry is given by Taylor, 
although I am inclined to read the antepenultimate word 
stile^ Sir Joshua's usual way of spelling style. The follow- 
ing day his comment is: "The ordinary people very 
ordinary, without one exception." Apparently he re- 
solved to make his entries fuller for the future, for the 
day after this letter was written he enters the following 
reminders: "Milk-pails. Boats through meadows. Trees, 
but not a trace of their value round houses." 

His observations on straight lines were echoed in a 
letter he wrote to Beattie in the following year : "All lines 
are either curved or straight, and that which partakes 
equally of each is the medium or average of all lines and 
therefore more beautiful than any other line; notwith- 
standing this, an artist would act preposterously that 
should take every opportunity to introduce this line in 
his works as Hogarth himself did, who appears to have 
taken an aversion to a straight line. His pictures there- 

^ The preceding letter, which was sold at Sotheby's 8 April, 1935, 
ended with the announcement that they were setting out for Antwerp, 
"where if anything occurs you will hear from meagain". Cf. Letters^ 82. 


fore want that line of firmness and stability which is pro- 
duced by straight lines. "^ 

Sir Joshua declares that he has made very copious 
observations on the pictures which he is seeing. These 
he made in an octavo notebook, bound in vellum, which 
was sold at Sotheby's, 25 July, 1932. The remarks he 
noted in it are of the scantiest, merely enough to aid his 
memory for a short time. They were then expanded in a 
quarto notebook, similarly bound, which was sold in 
the same lot at Sotheby's. As far as I could judge from a 
cursory examination, the expanded notes do not greatly 
differ from what Malone later published. They are 
written hastily, and the pages are filled with deletions. 
Curiously enough, he has dated his departure from 
London 24 June and his notes on Bruges 28 June. He 
should have written July rather than June^ and his error 
suggests that the larger of the two volumes was not used 
until some time after his return to London. 

Four years later the Emperor, who had imitated 
Henry VIII in dissolving many of the religious founda- 
tions in Flanders, sold the pictures which he had plun- 
dered. In order to inspect these. Sir Joshua made a 
second journey shortly before the sale. Malone, who 
mistakenly dated this 1783, has been followed, I believe, 
by all biographers, although Tom Taylor rightly ques- 
tions the date in a footnote.^ Sir Joshua's letters to the 
Duke of Rutland indicate that he left London on the 
20th of July, 1785, and returned within a month. 
Boswell's journal supplies additional evidence. On the 
evening of 19 July he called on Sir Joshua. ''Most for- 
tunate; found him still at table with Miss Palmer, Burke, 

^ Letters, 92. Northcote (ii, 54) records as one of his master's remarks : 
"A straight avenue is grand; a serpentine line elegant." 

^ Leslie and Taylor, ii, 419. Northcote, Leslie, Cotton, Phillips, 
Benoit, Pulling, d'Esterre-Keeling, and Lord Govver follow Malone 
without attempting to verify his statement. 


and Metcalf. He and Metcalf were to set out for Holland 
next day." On lo August he ''breakfasted with Sir 
Joshua Reynolds tete-a-tete and heard an account of his 
late jaunt to the Continent".^ 

On his second journey he again took with him an 
octavo notebook, which is now in the Royal Academy. 
He probably took as well the notes which he had for- 
merly made on these pictures, for when in Antwerp he 
wrote: ''Of M'". Stevens Collection I have little to add 
to what I have said before of the Roman Charity." He 
must have recorded his observations on his return to his 
hotel, after he had seen the pictures and read what he had 
said of them four years earlier. 

On viewing the pictures of Rubens a second time, they ap- 
peared much less brilliant than they had done on the former 
inspection. He could not for some time account for this cir- 
cumstance; but when he recollected, that when he first saw them, 
he had his note-book in his hand, for the purpose of writing down 
short remarks, he perceived what had occasioned their now making 
a less impression in this respect than they had done formerly. 
By the eye passing immediately from the white paper to the 
picture, the colours derived uncommon richness and warmth. 
For want of this foil, they afterwards appeared comparatively 

What notes he took on his second journey are for the 
most part very brief. He sees, for example, at Mr Orion *s 
house a Nativity by Jordaens. His comment is "capri- 
cious Comp in the Tintoret", which being translated 
means "a capricious composition in the manner of 
Tintoretto ".3 His spelling sometimes gives the reader 
a shock, as when he speaks of a self-portrait by Rem- 
brandt, who has his "palate" in his hand. And because 
of his lack of punctuation, he at times seems to be adding 

^ Boswell Papers^ xvi, 1 1 1, 119. The notebook referred to in the next 
paragraph shows that he was at Brussels 25 July, Antwerp 29 and 30- 
July, and Ghent 3 August. 

^ Works, i, Ixxii et seq. 3 Id, ii^ 269. 


to Biblical history. "Christ mock'd by M. Coxcie, in the 
dry manner" and "Christ scourged by Segers" might 
perplex a student of the New Testament. 

While examining pictures he was annoyed at the 
inefficient way in which the catalogues had been pre- 
pared. On the fly-leaf of his notebook he scrawled: 
"vexatious to see collection with printed Catalogue 
Raisonee not worth a farth[ing].'* The line which follows 
is illegible, but the entry serves as an introduction to what 
is written at the back of the book. It proves that he con- 
templated publishing a more detailed account of the 
pictures which he was seeing. 

what is here given to the public is little more than a copy of 
my common place book wrote on the spot which may serve as 
apology for want of correctness or regularity of composition. 
If it should be asked why I did not put those notes more in order 
the answer is very ready I have not time & if I had waited till 
I had time probably they never would have appeard at all, such 
as they are, they are better than nothing if the young student[s] 
for whom it is principally intended when they make this tour 
take it in their [? portmanteaux] it may help to form their tast[e], 
to make them consider the art [of] what they might otherwise 

I conclude that whoever reads this the Pictures or at least the 
prints are before them otherwise it must be unintelligible 

In addition to this, which was obviously to serve as 
preface, there are other remarks written in the back of 
the notebook. There is, for example, the genesis of his 
character sketch of Rubens : 

no man understood the language of the painter better than 
Rubens he knew it gramatically and was allways sure of his 

It is to be regretted that the engravers of his works have 
neglected what is so excellent in Rubens, and what would make 
his print[s] a Skool of that part of the art. I mean the keeping 
of the masses they ought to imitate the colours of the drapery 
and their gradation. 


It might be usefull to students when there is any account of the 
management of the light and shadow or of the colours to have the 
print before them by which means they will feel the reasons of 
the conduct of Rubens. 

It is for this reason I have mentiond all those print[s] which 
have come to my knowledge 

Following this is a criticism of one of Rubens's con- 
temporaries : 

The Pictures of Caspar de Grayer are the work of a tradesman 
that followed his art as a Trade & produced Pictures not much 
to be blamed nor praised but of no mark or likelihood^ [He] has 
nothing original or excellence of any kind to attract notice the[y] 
appear the work of a tradesman that never read. [He] has no 
music in his soul no enthusiasm no poetry fancy or Genius 

While viewing the Flemish pictures and endeavour- 
ing to form an opinion as to their relative merits, he 
devoted some of his time to reading what others had 
written on the subject. One of these books, as is proved 
from a letter he wrote three months later,^ was J. F. M. 
Michel's Histoire de la Vie de Rubens^ a book published 
at Brussels in 177 1. It is highly eulogistic. As an ex- 
ample of the writer's style and sentiments the following 
will suffice: 

le grand colons du Titien, le clair-obsur, & la distribution des 
lumieres du Correggio, la noblesse des attitudes de Raphael 
Urbino, les riches vetements de Paulo Veronese, & la grande 
composition & verite des caracteres d'Annibal Carrache; c'est 
meme cette glorieuse combinaison, qui fait le motif fondamental 
a soutenir, que Rubens a surpasse tous les Peintres de PUnivers, 
tant ceux qui Pont precede, que ceux qui Pont suivi.3 

This excerpt could be matched by many similar passages 
in the book, and is the sort of criticism that instigated 

^ "A fellow of no mark nor likelihood", Henry IF, Part I, ni, ii. 
Sir Joshua had quoted this in his fifth discourse {Works, i, 141). 
^ Letters, 143. 
3 Op. cit. 345. No textual corrections have been made. 


Sir Joshua to pen the following, which is found at the 
back of the notebook : 

The indiscriminate praise that it is for ever the custom of 
writers to give to their favorites hurts the cause of Criticism the 
reason of a a person undertakes to write [h]is Character is certainly 
because he is a favorit[e] and that being profest they they think it 
right to confirm the proverb that love is bhnd which they really 
are or appear to have an interest in saying nothing but what shall 
be in praise of their Hero, few people like my friend Falconet 
undertake to translate a writer for the sake of discovering his 
Authors ignorance of the subject on which he writes 

Falconet's medallion portrait of Reynolds is reproduced 
as frontispiece to the first volume of the biography by 
Leslie and Taylor. His translation of Pliny Sir Joshua 
had quoted with approval in his eighth discourse. 

We have seen that in 1785 Reynolds planned to 
publish his commentaries on Dutch and Flemish paint- 
ings. But, as he remarks in his tentative preface, he 
lacked the necessary time to throw what he had written 
into respectable form. It was not until the end of his 
life, when his approaching blindness prevented him from 
painting, that he seems to have turned to his notebooks 
once more with the intention of publishing them. Be- 
cause of his failing eyesight he was not able to do much 
revising. Instead he seems to have called upon his 
friends to help make a fair copy of the notes he originally 
took. The manuscript used by Malone and the printer 
is now in the British Museum. It is a folio bound in calf 
and contains various sizes of sheets written in various 
hands. Many passages have been corrected by Reynolds, 
and there are as well notes in Malone's hand. 

When printing the Journey Malone took great liberties 
with the dedication to Metcalfe. The original, two folio 
pages, is in the Royal Academy. 

I send you put together with as much order as the little time 
I can spare from my business will permit, the notes which were 
made abroad on the Pictures which we saw together, I present 


them to you as they are properly your due; less tast, less patience 
or less politeness on your part would have prevented those notes 
from appearing or even being made/ the pleasure which a mere 
dilettanti derives from seeing the works of art ceases when he has 
receivd the full effect of the Work, but the Painter has the means 
of amusing himself much longer by examining the principles on 
which the Artist wrought, to which ever of your good qualities 
I am to impute your long attendance whilst I was examining those 
works & employing myself in writing notes, I am sure it merits 
my warmest acknowledgment, nor is it an inconsiderable 
advantage to see such works in company with one who has a 
general rectitude of tast; and who is not a professor of the art. x^ 
we are too apt to forget that the Art is not intended solely for the 
pleasure of prefessiors, the opinions of others are never to be 
totally neglected^ it is by their means that perhaps even the 
receiv'd rules of art may be corrected, at least there is a greater 
chance than from the judgment of Painters who being educated 
in the same manner are likely enough to judge from the same 
principles and are liable to the same prejudices or to be governd 
by the influence of an authority which may perhaps have no 
foundation in our nature. 

Of the merit of Sir Joshua's Journey little need be said. 
It is always of interest to hear the judgment of a good 
painter on paintings, and Sir Joshua, unlike many of the 
great painters, was gifted with a mind which though not 
original was eminently judicial. Hence his comments 
are worth reading, even to-day. They are, of course, 
merely notes, but they reveal ''the same philosophical, 
the same artist-like critick, the same sagacious observer ' ', 
as Burke said of them in the quotation which heads this 

^^ Originally : ''if I had accompanyd a person of less tast those notes 
never would have been taken." 

^ The "x" refers to a quotation from Cicero's De Optimo Genere 
Oratorum which is written on the verso of the preceding page: "ad 
pjcturam probandam says Cicero adhibentur etiam inscii faciendi, cum 
ahqua solertia judicandi." Sir Joshua's probable source for this is noted 
below (p. 80). 

3 Originally: "the opinions of the ignorant and unlearned in that art" 
which was altered for obvious reasons. '^ Works, i, Ixxi n. 


Reynolds the student of literature is seen more than 
once in the notes. He likens "old Brueghel" to Donne 
* * in opposition to the modern versification which carrying 
no weight possesses that false gallop of verses such as 
Shakespeare ridicules in 'As you like it'."^ He quotes 
Milton when discussing Rubens's picture of the fallen 
angels, and when criticizing the same artist's Last Supper 
at Mechlin, he thus illustrates his dislike of the principal 
figure : 

it is here as in poetry; a perfect character makes but an insipid 
figure; the genius is cramped and confined, and cannot indulge 
itself in those liberties which give spirit to the character, and of 
course interest the spectator. It has been observed, that Milton 
has not succeeded in the speeches which he has given to God the 
Father, or to Christ, so well as in those which he has put in the 
mouths of the rebel angels.^ 

To illustrate that *' simplicity is no match against the 
splendour of Rubens" Sir Joshua contemplated refer- 
ring to Chesterfield's letters. After declaring that the 
best pictures of the Italian school would seem outclassed 
if hung near those of Rubens, he originally wrote: 

they certainly ought not but it is like the powers of Eloquence 
that beats down every thing before it, it reminds one of what 
Lord Chesterfield says of his own speech, on the changing of the 
style, in comparison of Lord Morton's, who tho he had more 
knowledge on the subject, yet, not having such a power of lan- 

^ I quote fi-om the earlier form of this sentence in Mary Palmer's 
hand (f. 171 of the printer's copy in the British Museum). Originally, 
immediately after this passage was the following sentence, deleted by 
the cautious and tactful Reynolds: "It is certain the modern painters 
have not overburthend their works with thought." Cf. Works, ii, 408 
et seq. The Shakespearian reference is to the speech of Touchstone in 
Act in, scene 2: "This is the very false gallop of verses." The use of 
Donne as an illustration may have been suggested by Johnson's remarks 
on the "metaphysical poets", which Reynolds was reading shortly 
before his first trip to Flanders. Cf. Letters of Horace Walpole, ed. 
Toy n bee, >:i, 427. 

^ Works, ii, 270 et seq., 400. 


guage or elegance of manner, Lord Chesterfield being possessed 
of those qualities to an eminent degree, he received all the applause 
& few perhaps in the house perceived the superiority in Lord 
Morton. Lord Chesterfield himself did & acknowledged it in a 
letter to his son.^ 

While preparing his notes for publication, Sir Joshua 
seems to have been reading Algarotti's essay on painting. 
Chapter xv, **Of the Importance of the Public Judge- 
ment", emphasizes what Reynolds wrote in his dedica- 
tion to Metcalfe, and among his illustrations Algarotti 
chose the particular passage from Cicero which Sir 
Joshua thought of quoting. That the two men might 
have come upon this quotation independently is of course 
not impossible, but in his Character of Rubens appended 
to the Journey Sir Joshua makes this comment : 

He has avoided that tawdry effect which one would expect 
such gay colours to produce; in this respect resembling Barocci 
more than any other painter. What was said of an antient painter, 
may be applied to those two artists, — that their figures look as if 
they fed upon roses. 

Hear now the words of Algarotti, when discoursing upon 

He would not feed his figures with roses, as an ancient painter 
of Greece shrewdly expressed it, but with good beef; a difference, 
which the learned eye of a modern writer could perceive between 
the colouring of Barocci and that of Titian.^ 

Had Sir Joshua taken the story from Pliny or Plutarch 
or Daniel Webb, would he have used the same loose 
phrasing of ' ' antient painter ' ' .? 

From what was said earlier it might be thought that 

^ Add. MSS. Eg. 2 165, f. 1 8. This passage was cancelled. Cf. Works^ 
ii, 263. 

^ Count Algarotti's Essay on Painting, London, 1764, 59, 144. 
Works, ii, 426. "The learned eye of a modern writer" was that of Daniel 
Webb, who in his Inquiry into the Beauties of Painting (London, 1760, 
85) quotes Euphranor's comment and adds "What more could we say 
of Titian and Barocci?" Cf. Boswell's.////^, iv, 104. 


Reynolds had not considered publishing his observations 
until his second trip. The case was otherwise, if we are to 
take Malone's word. In one of Sir Joshua's notes on 
Dufresnoy, written early in 1782, he compares Rubens 
to Titian. Malone refers the reader to a fuller treatment 
of the subject in the Journey \ "The fair transcript of that 
Journey having been written about the same time that 
these notes were composed, our author took from thence 
the illustration which he has made use of here. "^ This, 
if taken literally, would mean that in 178 i, shortly after 
his return from the first trip, Reynolds made a fair tran- 
script of his comments, presumably for publication, but 
that he laid this aside until his second trip four years 
later, when he expanded what he had already written. 
The dating could be done without much trouble if an 
examination of the notebooks recently sold at Sotheby's 
were permitted. It is worth mentioning in this connec- 
tion that ane of Sir Joshua's notes on Dufresnoy intro- 
duces Baroccio, who ** falls under the criticism that was 
made on an ancient Painter, that his figures looked as if 
they fed upon roses ".^ 

The notes to Dufresnoy were written partly to en- 
courage a friend, partly because of an interest since 
childhood in the Art of Painting. One of Sir Joshua's 
closest friends was William Mason, a poet who is read 
to-day only by the most ardent students of the period. 
Dull, lazy, a trifle too avaricious, he nevertheless com- 
manded a certain amount of respect in his own day. 
Apparently because of his laziness, when writing the 
life of Gray he stumbled upon "an excellent plan" of 
biography, which was adopted by the greatest of all bio- 
graphers, and his poems were successful enough to add 
considerably to his income. In 1755 he had met Rey- 
nolds, and thereafter the two were on terms of intimacy 
which were the stronger because Mason was an amateur 
^ Works, m, 128 n. - Id.\\\, 178. 


painter. Atone of their meetings the poet mentioned that 
he had at one time translated Dufresnoy's Art of Fainting 
into English verse, but had decided it was not worth 
publishing. Reynolds asked to see it and offered to 
illustrate it with notes if Mason would revise the transla- 
tion. The offer was accepted, and at the end of 1 780 the 
poet left his manuscript with the painter. Walpole, 
anticipating great things of Sir Joshua, ' * who will execute 
his task so well", borrowed the translation from him 
early in 1781 before the notes were begun. Sir Joshua 
postponed his work, journeyed to the Netherlands in the 
summer, and confessed as the year was drawing to a close 
that he had not yet started writing. "I asked Sir Joshua 
t'other night if he had done anything towards your 
Notes'', writes Walpole to Mason; **he said No, but he 
had some ideas in his head, though at present he was 
busy on arranging his own notes taken in Flanders." 
The actual writing must have been done soon after this, 
for in March, 1782, Mason told Walpole that Reynolds 
had completed his notes. ^ Reynolds himself refers to his 
work in a letter written at the end of that month, declaring 
that he had been very busy completing them because the 
book was otherwise ready for the press. 

In spite of this statement, the translation was not 
published until 1783.^ It is advertised in the London 
Chronicle of 1 3—1 5 February; Walpole thanks Mason on 
10 February for his copy, and two days later Sir Joshua 
writes that '* Mr. Mason has at last published his transla- 
tion of Fresnoy". On 15 February the book inspired 
the following verses, written to Mason by Hayley: 

Dear Brother of the tuneful Art! 
To whom I justly bend; 

^ Letters of Horace Walpole, ed. Toynbee, xi, 363, 377, 383; xii, 1 24; 
Leslie and Taylor, ii, 352 n.; Works, iii, 10. Cf. Letters, 93, 100. 

^ Leslie Stephen, in his article on Mason in the Diet. Nat. Biog., 
gives 1782 as the date of publication. He was probably misled by 
Mason's epistle to Sir Joshua, which is dated 10 October, 1782. 


I prize with a fraternal Heart 

The pleasing Gift you send. 
With Pride, by Envy undebased, 

My English spirit views, 
How far your Elegance of Taste 

Improves a Gallic Muse. 
I thought that Muse but meanly drest. 

When her stiff Gown was Latin: 
But you have turn'd her Grogram Vest 

Into fine Folds of Sattin. 
Mild Reynolds looks with liberal Favor 

On your adopted Girl; 
And to the graceful Robe you gave her. 

Adds rich Festoons of Pearl. 

This effusion was sent by Mason to Reynolds and is still 
in the possession of one of his collateral descendants, 
Rupert Colomb, Esq., who has lent it to the Royal 

My copy of the volume was originally owned by one 
of the more important bluestockings of the day. It is 
inscribed in a bold hand: "To Mrs. Vesey with Sir 
Joshua Reynolds Compos.'* Another copy he presented 
to Dr Johnson, who acknowledged the gift on 1 9 Feb- 
ruary by a letter and a set of the new edition of his Lives 
of the PoetSy which had been published a fortnight earlier: 


Mr. Mason's address to you deserves no great praise, it is lax 
without easiness, and familiar without gayety. Of his Translation 
I think much more favourably, so far as I have read, which is 
not a great part. I find him better than exact, he has his authours 
distinctness and clearness, without his dryness and sterility. 

As I suspect you to have lost your Lives I desire you to accept 
of these volumes and to keep them somewhere out of harm's way, 
that you may sometimes remember the writer.^ 

^ Letters of Samuel Johnson, ed. Hill, ii, 286 et seq., altered in accord- 
ance with corrections kindly supplied by Dr R. W. Chapman, who 
owns the letter. Hill's note to the second paragraph is incorrect. The 
original edition of the Lives, now in the possession of Dr Chapman, 
Reynolds must have received several years before this. The volumes 
which accompanied this letter are now in my possession. 



Johnson's criticism of the translation is lenient enough. 
A couplet like the following, for example, can hardly be 
considered poetry: 

Whate'er the form which our first glance commands, 
Whether in front or in profile he stands, 

nor do the following lines seem free from ''dryness and 

The Portrait claims from imitative art 
Rest^mblance close in each minuter part, 
And this to give, the r ^ady hand and eye 
With playful skill the kindred features ply. 

To be sure, ''the Latin of the original", as Malone later 
observed, " is so crabbed and unclassical, that it is painful 
to look at it, and to sound it would, I am sure, break one's 
teeth ".^ Nevertheless the translator merits little praise 
when in order to twist his thoughts into heroic couplets 
he is forced to transpose subject and predicate as in this 
example : 

These all displease, and the disgusted eye 
Nauseates the tame and irksome symmetry. 

Our concern, however, is not with the work of Mason, 
but with the notes which were supplied by Sir Joshua. 
We have seen that Dufresnoy's poem was one of the first 
books on the theory of painting to attract the youthful 
Reynolds. Nor had it been discarded with childish 
things. The early discourses are permeated with the ideas 
suggested by it, and while evolving his own theories on 
the fine arts, he thought much on the ideas advanced in 
this poem. His notes then may be considered the result 
of many years of thinking. Naturally enough there are 
numerous echoes of what had been expressed in one or 

^ Hist. MSS. Commission, xiii, 8, 1894 (Charlemont), ii, 254. Cf. 
Works, iii, 47, ji et seq. 


another of the discourses. And since his annotations 
were made at the time he was revisinghis Flemish journal, 
there are many allusions to the painters of Holland and 
Flanders, particularly to Rubens. 

Unlike the majority of his writings the notes contain 
but a single allusion to literature : 

It must be remembered, that the component parts of the most 
perfect Statue never can excel nature, — that we can form no idea 
of beauty beyond her works: we can only make this rare assem- 
blage; an assemblage so rare, that if we are to give the name of 
Monster to what is uncommon, we might, in the words of the 
Duke of Buckingham, call it 

A faultless Monster which the world ne'er saw.^ 

I doubt if Sir Joshua had read the Essay on Poetry in 
which this line appears. It is far more likely that he took 
it from Johnson's life of that poet, where it is included as 
a description of a perfect character.^ Johnson had sent 
Sir Joshua his Lives of the Poets as soon as they were 
published, and this particular life was not published 
until 1 7 8 1 . Presumably Sir Joshua was reading it when 
he was writing his notes to Dufresnoy. 

But the most interesting observations are those wherein 
the writer becomes more personal. Such a one, for ex- 
ample, is that in which he recounts his method of study 
when a student at Venice ; in another, although he does 
not say so, we may surmise that he had in mind his one 
meeting with Pope : * * those who are born crook-backed 
have commonly a peculiar form of the lips and expression 
in the mouth, that strongly denotes that deformity. "3 
An earlier note is based upon another experience he had 

^ Works, iii, 113. 

^ Lives of the English Poets, ed. Hill, Oxford, 1905, ii, 176. Reynolds 
could have found it in Dryden's Pai'allel Between Poetry and Painting 
{Works, iii, 239) or in his friend "Hermes" Harris's Three Treatises, 
London, 1772, 215. 

3 Works, iii, 123, 147. Cf. Prior's Life of Malone, London, i860, 


had, although in printing it he disguised the personal 
element. "An instance occurs to me of a subject which 
was recommended to a Painter by a very distinguished 
person, but who, as it appears, was but little conversant 
with the art." The subject recommended, he continues, 
was the famous interview between James II and Bedford. 
He then gives his reasons as to why such a subject was 
not suitable for a painting. Less than a month after this 
note was published. Lord Hardwicke wrote to Sir 
Joshua, apparently referring to it and suggesting as a 
better one the interview which the same king had had 
with the Duke of Monmouth. Reynolds replied on the 
5th of March that this would be more suitable, but that 
**even this has scarce enough of intelligible action". 
He adds: '*It was the late Charles Townsend that re- 
commended to me the interview of The Duke of Bedford 
and K. James as a subject for a Picture."^ 

Shortly before the publication of Sir Joshua's notes 
to Dufresnoy his personal and official life was affected 
by the death of one of his oldest friends, George Michael 
Moser. Born in Switzerland, the enameller had spent 
almost all of his long life in England, where he had taken 
an active part in developing British art. Reynolds had 
met him when a student of Hudson's, and had been 
associated with him on various committees of artists 
formed before and after the organization of the Royal 
Academy. On Moser's death in January, 1783, Sir 
Joshua wrote an obituary notice, which appeared in the 
Public Advertiser of 30 January and is printed by Malone 
from Sir Joshua's manuscript.^ The eulogy, which 
brings out concisely and clearly Moser's personality and 
accomplishments, is of interest in that it reveals the 
portrait-painter using words rather than oils as his 
medium. "Portraits," he once remarked, "as well as 

^ Letters, 102; Works, \\\, \o\etseq. 
^ Works, i, xlvi et seq. 


written characters of men, should be decidedly marked, 
otherwise they will be insipid."^ 

This was not his first appearance as a writer of *' pub- 
lick testimonials ". Seven years earlier Mrs Parker, wife 
of one of his childhood friends, had died soon after 
giving birth to a daughter. She had sat several times to 
Reynolds, who admired her not only for her beauty but 
for her ** amiable disposition, her softness and gentleness 
of manners ''. On her death he wrote a character-sketch 
of her, which was printed in the Public Advertiser of 
29 December, 1775. This has recently been reprinted 
by Mr Whitley,^ who furnishes additional information 
concerning it. Sir Joshua praised Mrs Parker for her 
** habitual, uniform, and quiet" virtues, but made no 
allusion to her extraordinary beauty. After he had 
admitted being the author, a friend remarked to him: 
**I suppose by your silence on that article the lady was 
plain in her person?" "Upon my honour," replied the 
painter, "I was so wholly engrossed by the idea of her 
wonderful merit that I totally forgot her exterior 

At this time Northcote was a student at Leicester 
Fields and in his letters to his brother he thrice mentions 
the character-sketch. The first two of these merely note 
that it was written in a great hurry, was published in 
several newspapers, and would soon appear in the maga- 
zines. The third reference is the source of the anecdote 
which he later incorporated in his biography. "In the 
last months Gentleman's Magazine you will see Sir 
Joshua's Charecter of M^^ parker but the printer has 
taken the liberty of making some alteration which he 

^ Northcote, ii, 55. Northcote's source for this was probably the 
commonplace book which is now in my possession. The remark, which 
is there found on the verso of leaf 52, doubtless derived from Pope's 
commentary on Homer. Cf. post, p. 213. 

^ Whitley, ii, 297. 


thought was for the better but insteed of that has spoild 
it. I beleive it is only one word he has changed but Sir 
Joshua said It had quite spoilt the whole and M^ White- 
ford compair'd it to a pot of Broath over the fire when a 
lump of soot from the chimney falls into it the whole 
mess is spoilt."^ 

Northcote reprints the notice, not as he says "in its 
original form'*, but as it appeared in the Gentleman s 
Magazine of March, 1776. He was apparently unaware 
of the fact that this had been altered by the author. 
Mr Whitley was the first to indicate this, pointing out 
that the sketch as it appeared in the Public Advertiser 
lacked the following passage, obviously added because 
of the sarcastic comment quoted above: ''Her person 
was eminently beautiful; but the expression of her coun- 
tenance was far above all beauty that proceeds from 
regularity of features only. The gentleness and benevo- 
lence of her disposition were so naturally impressed on 
every look and motion, that without any affected effort 
or assumed courtesy, she was sure to make every one her 
friend that had ever spoke to her, or even seen her." 
Northcote confesses ignorance as to what the printer of 
the Gentleman s Magazine altered. There are a number 
of slight differences between the original and the later 
form. The only change of importance, except for what 
has already been quoted, is no mere verbal one such as 
Northcote mentions. In the version published in the 
Public Advertiser a sentence reads : ''if there had existed 
a being of so black and malignant a disposition as to wish 
to wound so fair an object it must have searched in vain 
for a weak part wherein to inflict the venom." In the 
Gentleman s Magazine we read: "if there had existed so 
depraved a being as to wish to wound so fair a character, 
the most artful malignity must have searched in vain for 

^ From the unpublished portion of a letter in the Royal Academy, 
written 4 April, 1776. Cf. Northcote, ii, 15. 


a weak part." This is so obviously an improvement that 
it can hardly be the alteration which disturbed the 
painter. But whether or not it was, Sir Joshua displays 
in this incident a sensitiveness regarding his literary 
style which shows that he was already jealous of his 
reputation as a writer. 

The two notebooks mentioned above (pp. 73, 81) have been acquired 
by me just as this volume is to be published. The octavo contains brief 
notes on and sketches from the pictures seen at Antv^erp and v^as 
obviously carried into the galleries. The notebook w^hich is in the 
Royal Academy {ante, 74) served the same purpose for Brussels, Ghent, 
and Bruges. Probably there is in existence at least one other notebook 
of the same sort for the other places visited. I now believe that the one 
which is in the Academy was originally used on the first trip (178 1) 
but was taken as well on the second trip (1785), at which time the 
painter made a few additions to it, including the dates and the reference 
to Stevens {ante, 74 and note). [Stevens, incidentally, should have 
been corrected by Reynolds to Peters {Works, ii, 334, 336).] The 
quarto is an expansion of both these octavos with the addition of a 
few pages on the pictures 2k Mechlin. From this and, presumably, 
from another like it which contained the rest of the notes, the fair copy 
in the British Museum {ante, 77) was made. Without any question 
the expanded notes were written some time after Sir Joshua returned 
to England, thus accounting for his having written June rather than 
July, and it is to the quarto, then, that Malone alludes in the sentence 
quoted above on p. 81. 



"There was a polish in the exterior of Sir Joshua, illus- 
trative of the Gentleman and the Scholar; he was a critic 
in the Classics, and knew Xenophon and Grotius, as 
well as Du Fresnoy." 
^''Anthony Pasquin^'' in The World, 1 5 September^ 1792. 

At the beginning of the preceding chapter it was sug- 
gested that Sir Joshua hardly quaHfied as man of letters 
until his first seven discourses had been collected. We 
have seen that he was engaged in revising these for the 
octavo edition in 1777 and that in the same year a friend 
of his praises him because he 

Has of two Arts attained the lawrel'd Heights; 
Paints with a Pen, and with a Pencil Writes!^ 

Another proof that at 4:his time his literary inclinations 
were apparent is an unpublished note written in 1777 
by Mrs Thrale : * ' Sir Joshua is indeed sufficiently puffed 
up with the Credit he has acquired for his written Dis- 
courses, a Praise he is more pleased with than that he 
obtains by his Profession ; besides that he seems to set 
up as a Sort of Patron to Literature; so that no Book goes 
rapidly thro' a first Edition now, but the Author is at 
Reynolds's table in a Trice. "^ 

Although Mrs Thrale is not an unprejudiced witness, 
there can be no doubt as to the justness of her observa- 

^ Cf. ante, p. xvi. 

^ HM. Thraliana^ i, 133, printed by permission of the Huntington 
Library, San Marino, California. 


tion. If he had not been proud to see himself ''strutting'* 
in print, this book would not have been written, and there 
is plenty of evidence to prove that he became *'a Sort of 
Patron to Literature". At his table Boswell met "a 
greater number of literary men, than at any other"; Sir 
Joshua's house, we are told, was considered **a common 
centre of union for the great, the accomplished, the 
learned, and the ingenious".^ According to Courtenay, 
peers temporal and spiritual, * * physicians, lawyers, actors, 
and musicians, composed the motley groupe, and played 
their parts without dissonance or discord".^ Malone 
declares that Sir Joshua's table ''for above thirty years 
exhibited an assemblage of all the talents of Great-Britain 
and Ireland; there being during that period scarce a 
person in the three kingdoms distinguished for his attain- 
ments in literature or the arts, or for his exertions at the 
bar, in the senate, or the field, who was not occasionally 
found there ".3 Four years after Reynolds died, Farington 
wrote: "how difficult it would be to establish a plan for 
collecting select Society in the way Sir Joshua Reynolds 
carried his on. Malone only knows three persons who 
could undertake it ; and each is unfit in many respects. . . . 
Sir Joshua Reynolds. . .relished all the varieties of 
character & knowledge, and assuming little himself each 
person was encouraged to conversation. "4 

Of the conversation that passed at his table the best 
description is Courtenay's : 

Politics and party were never introduced. Literary subjects 
were discussed with good sense, taste, and fancy, without pedantic, 
tiresome dissertations. Wit and humour occasionally enlivened 
the festive board; but story-telling, premeditated bon-mots, and 
studied witticisms, were not tolerated for a moment. Sir Joshua 
was excellently calculated for promoting lively rational con\'ersa- 
tion. His mind was active, perpetually at work. He aimed at 

" Boswell's Life, iii, 65; i, i. 

^ Northcoie, ii, 95. 

3 Works, i, Ixxxii et seq. 4 parington's Diary, i, 136. 


originality, and threw out observations and sentiments as new, 
which had been often discussed by various authors; for his 
knowledge was principally acquired by conversation, and therefore 
superficial. However, he was a most pleasing, amiable companion ; 
his manners easy, conciliating, and unaffected. He had great good 
sense, and an exquisite correct taste; and if his ideas were not 
always new, they were often set off by liveliness of imagination; and 
his conversation abounded in pleasing and interesting anecdotes.^ 

But this characterization of Sir Joshua's conversation 
should be somewhat qualified, to judge from several curt 
entries in the diary of William Windham. On 9 August, 
1786, after dining with Reynolds, he wrote: ** I did not 
feel disposed to talk much till after tea. Subject started 
about chance, on which Sir Joshua was teaching his 
grandmother to suck eggs, by beginning himself with 
an addled one." And a week later he wrote: ** Thought 
closely and successfully on the principle which Sir 
Joshua fancies himself to have made out of the beauty of 
a circle : causes, certain or possible, numerous ; that which 
he supposes, he does not understand, and amounts to 
little when it is understood."^ 

However we rate his abilities as a debater, there is no 
doubt that he was most skilful as an interlocutor. When 
he himself opens his Two Dialogues with the aside that 
he will bring Johnson out, he is unquestionably writing 
fact rather than fiction. And when he was not trying to 
* ' bring out ' ' one of the company, he was usually content 
to follow up the preceding remark with a brief comment. 
Boswell once said: "Sir Joshua compleats a saying. He 
is like a Jeweller. You bring him a diamond. He cuts it, 
and makes it much more brilliant." The analogy is not a 
good one, for although he was in the habit of completing 
the remarks of others, he would have been the first to deny 
that what he said was brilliant. For a far better charac- 
terization the following comment, also by Boswell, will 

^ Northcote, ii, 94. 

^ Windham's Diary, ed. Baring, London, 1866, 84 et seq. 


serve: **Sir Joshua, who allways makes just and delicate 
remarks^ observed that all young Writers tried Pastoral 
because it is a species of composition for which no know- 
ledge of life is requisite."^ 

By surrounding himself with famous men of letters 
and by making just and delicate remarks, Sir Joshua won 
for himself a certain amount of recognition as a literary 
critic, even from the great Dr Johnson. Johnson once 
discoursed on the embarrassment of men in his position 
when inexperienced authors submitted their work for 
criticism. If the manuscript, however worthless, is 
commended, the author ''when mankind are hunting 
him with a cannister at his tail, can say, ' I would not have 
published, had not Johnson, or Reynolds, or Musgrave, 
or some other good judge commended the work'."^ It 
can be argued that Sir Joshua is included among the good 
judges because he was sitting near the speaker at the time. 
Yet Johnson was apparently quite sincere in putting 
his friend in this category. "Talking of melancholy, he 
said, ' Some men, and very thinking men too, have not 
those vexing thoughts. Sir Joshua Reynolds is the same 
all the year round'." He considered him then a thinking 
man. "When Reynolds tells me something, I consider 
myself as possessed of an idea the more." And he always 
thought of him "as one of his literary school ".3 

If this was the estimate of Johnson, it is not surprising 
that it was shared by many other contemporaries. Before 
he published his writings Goldsmith was accustomed to 
reading them to his closest friend. Burke read to him in 
manuscript his Reflections on the Revolution in France. Sir 
Joshua heard Sheridan's School for Scandal read aloud 
before it was acted and was one of the jury which passed 
judgment on Boswell's Journal oj a Tour to the Hebrides, 

^ Boszvell Papers, vi, 62; xv, 184. The italics are mine. 

^ Boswell's Life, iii, 320. 

3 Id. iii, 5, 369; 'Johnsonian Miscellanies, i, 225. 


He was asked to criticize several of Crabbe's poems and 
offered constructive suggestions to Beattie which were 
incorporated in the Dissertation on Imagination, Similar 
critical opinions were sent to Thomas Astle, the anti- 
quarian, Bishop Lowth, the Hebraic scholar, and William 
Mason, the poet.^ 

At the same time his position as critic was advanced 
by the number of books and booklets which were dedi- 
cated to him. Many of these, of course, concerned art 
and artists. There was, for example, A Pindarick Ode on 
Paintings published by an admirer in 1768; and there 
was The Ear-Wig^ a satirical review of the exhibition of 
1 78 1 . But the most inconspicuous of these was a small 
quarto published in 1787 and entitled Six Narrative 
Poems, It was written by Eliza Knipe, who informs us in 
her preface that, ''unexperienced in the Paths of Litera- 
ture", she trembles "lest the PUBLIC VOICE should 
be that of Condemnation '*. Among the subscribers were 
Daniel Daulby, the Rembrandt collector, and William 
Roscoe, biographer of Lorenzo the Magnificent, both 
of whom lived in Liverpool and corresponded with 
Reynolds. Through them, perhaps, Eliza was introduced 
to him. All that I have been able to discover about her 
is that she was "an artist and drawing mistress in Liver- 
pool".^ Hence it was that she dedicated her poems to 
Sir Joshua, writing to him: "I Esteem myself highly 
honoured by the Permission to dedicate the following 
Poems to YOU ; nor could I wish them a better Fate than 
to be thought worthy of your Acceptance : I fear they 

' Prior's Life of Burke, London, 1826, ii, 1 10, 188; P. W. Clayden's 
Early Life of Samuel Rogers, Boston, 1 8 8 8, 269 ; Boswell Papers, vi, 171; 
Letters, 130, 135, 90 et seq., 108, 64, 243. 

^ Mayer's Early Exhibitions of Art in Liverpool, 1876, 52, 79. 
Inscribed in pencil on the copy of the twelfth discourse which is in the 
New York Public Library is an illegible note in which there is mention 
of "Eliza Knipe's Poems". This copy was once in the Liverpool 


can have no Pretensions to that Honour, but as the early 
Efforts of an unletter dMuse^ who trembles at the Severity 
of Criticism, and does not hope much even from Can- 
dour.'^ It is just as well that her hopes were not high. 

And yet he must have preferred the honour from such 
a modest damsel to that which had previously been ac- 
corded him by one of his former pupils, George Huddes- 
ford. In the summer of 1778, when a French invasion 
was feared, the militia was called out. Johnson and 
Reynolds visited Langton at his camp at Warley in Essex. 
Sir Joshua was at the time painting the portrait of 
Huddesford, who was soon the talk of the town, owing 
to a satire which he brought out in the autumn, entitled 
Warley and * * addressed to the First ARTI ST in Europe ' ' . 
Towards the end of the second part the poetaster wonders 
whether his metre will ''gain approbation from dear little 
Burney", who in a footnote is described as "The 
Authoress of Evelina". It will be remembered that 
Evelina had been published anonymously at the begin- 
ning of the year, and when Warley appeared, there were 
still many people who did not know who had written it. 
Fanny, reading Huddesford's obscene satire, was horri- 
fied to find herself mentioned. She was comforted by 
Mrs Thrale, who wrote her in English hardly to be 
expected from a bluestocking: ''Your looking dismal 
can only advertise the paltry pamphlet, which I firmly 
believe no one out of your own family has seen, and which 
is now only lying like a dead kitten on the surface of a 
dirty horse-pond, incapable of scratching any one who 
does not take pains to dirty their fingers for it."^ A day 
or so later at Sir Joshua's an incident occurred which 
frightened Fanny "wo fully". Lord Palmerston asked 
his host a question which put her "in such a twitter": 
"What is this Warley that is just come out?" "Why, 

^ Diary and Letters of Madame d^Arbla^y ed. Dobson, London, 1904, 
i, 158. 


I don't know," was the reply; **but the reviewers, my 
Lord, speak very well of it." Mrs Cholmondeley, 
hearing the name of the author, exclaimed : '* Oh ! I don't 
like it at all, then! Huddisford! What a name! Miss 
Burney, pray can you conceive anything of such a name 
as Huddisford?" Fanny, unable to speak, ''looked 

Sir Joshua attempted a kind of vindication of him: but Lord 
Palmerston said, drily, 

"I think, Sir Joshua, it is dedicated to you?" 

"Yes, my Lord," answered he. 

" Oh, your servant ! Is it so ? " cried Mrs Cholmondeley; " then 
you need say no more!" 

Sir Joshua laughed, and the subject, to my great relief, was 

It is difficult to believe that Sir Joshua could have liked 
the poem, even though he was flattered in it. It is filled 
with the coarseness one associates with a certain type of 
schoolboy, and brings in many of Sir Joshua's friends 
in an impertinent way. One of these, ' * Hermes ' ' Harris, 
whom Reynolds and Johnson visited at Salisbury, and 
who receives honourable mention in a later discourse, is 
thus treated: 

View yon Weavers of dull Philosophical Prose, 
Led by club-footed Hermes from Sal'sbury Close. 

Johnson's friend and physician features as ''Old 
Br— kl— sby. Quack to the states Body politic ", and others 
known to Reynolds fared worse. 

But there were some books dedicated to him which are 
of importance in literature. Besides the most important 
of them all, the Life of Johnson^'^ there was Sheridan's 
School for Scandal 2ind Goldsmith's Deserted Village. The 
latter 's death was the occasion for a number of pamphlets, 

^ Diary and Letters of Madame d^Arblay^ i, i8o. 
^ The copy of the Life which Boswell presented to Sir Joshua is in 
the Harry Elkins Widener Collection in the Harvard College Library. 


among which was a poem dedicated to Sir Joshua by 
*' Courtney Melmoth", entitled The Tears of Genius, 
About the same time William Hawes, Apothecary, wrote 
An Account of the late Dr Goldsmith's Illness^ which he 
dedicated to Reynolds and Burke. Somewhat later, 
Thomas Evans, the bookseller, planning an edition of 
Goldsmith's plays and poems, wrote to Sir Joshua for 
some information, requesting at the same time permis- 
sion to dedicate the book to him. The answer was not 
included in my edition of the letters. 

Leicester fields Oct. 13 1779 

I am very glad to hear that a compleat edition of D^ Goldsmith's 
works is intended to be published. I have nothing my self but 
what has already been printed in some of the public papers Two 
young ladies of my acquaintance have a very humorous letter 
half prose and half verse which If I can procure from them I will 
put into your hands. I can have no objection to the dedication, 
on the contrary consider it as a great honour 

I am with great respect 

Your most obedient servant 

Joshua Reynolds^ 

Evans brought out his edition in 1780. In the same 
year a similar volume was published by Newbery, 
prefaced by a reprint of a memoir of Goldsmith. It is 
worth noting that this contains a sentence in which Sir 
Joshua, Johnson, Beauclerk, and Garrick are called his 
literary friends. Reynolds the artist was in this connection 
thought of less consequence than Reynolds the writer. 

Since, then, Sir Joshua was in the habit of associating 
with the literati, and was recognised by his contempo- 
raries as being possessed of a marked ''philosophical 

^ First printed in Catalogue 547, issued in 1930 by the Messrs Maggs. 
The two young ladies were of course the Horneck sisters, whose 
humorous letter was not printed by Evans. See Letters of Oliver Gold- 
smithy ed. Balderston, Cambridge, 1928, 80 et seq. Northcote (i, n^^ 
et seq.) reprints Evans's dedication. 



penetration and justness of thinking' V it was natural for 
him to attempt literary criticism. And since the Shake- 
spearian was regarded as the best field in which to exer- 
cise one's critical abilities, it was natural that he toyed 
with Shakespearian commentaries. Shortly after his 
death a literary hack named Samuel Felton collected a 
number of biographical anecdotes concerning him. In 
his booklet he included this paragraph ; 

To Sir Joshua Reynolds (both in conversation and in writing) 
Shakspeare is indebted for many a beautiful elucidation. Some of 
them enrich the later editions of this poet. The Discourses to 
the Students of the Academy, evidently shew his attachment to 
Shakspeare. He has been often heard, at various periods of his 
life (among his intimate friends), to apply Cicero's words to the 
charm attending the perusal of the great dramatic poet: "Haec 
studia adolescentiam alunt, senectutem oblectant, secundas res 
ornant, adversis perfugium ac solatium praebent, delectant domi, 
non impediunt foris, pernoctant nobiscum, peregrinantur, rusti- 

The notes to which Felton alludes have already received 
mention, and were copied in the various editions which 
appeared after 1765. To these Malone in his edition of 
1780 added a passage on Macbeth, which was slightly 

^ Boswell's Life, ii, 306. 

* Testimonies to the Genius and Memory of Sir Joshua Reynolds, 
London, 1792, 64. Felton had dedicated both parts of his Imperfect 
Hints towards a new edition of Shakespeare (1787, 1788) to Walpole 
and Reynolds, "whom Shakespeare, had he lived in these Days, would 
have chosen for the Conductors of any splendid Edition of his Works". 
In the advertisement to the second part there is a lengthy quotation from 
"an animated Discourse" by Sir Joshua — the fifth. The quotation from 
Cicero occurred as the motto for Spectator no. 406, where Sir Joshua might 
have found it. It also adorns the title-page of the edition of Pope's Iliad 
published by Tonson in 17 17 and is quoted several times in the poet's 
letters (ed. Elwin and Courthope, vi, 86, 127). In the commonplace 
book seen by Tom Taylor there are said to be numerous extracts from 
Pope's letters {Leslie and Taylor, i, 467) ; in the commonplace book in 
my possession Reynolds quotes frequently from Pope's Iliad. Cf post, 
pp, 212 et seq. 


altered from the eighth discourse, and a note on Lear's 
last speech. The dying king speaks of his poor fool 
being hanged. This Sir Joshua believed to be a reference 
to the Fool. In the edition of 1773 Steevens had thus 
annotated the speech: ''This is an expression of tender- 
ness for his dead Cordelia (not his fool, as some have 
thought) on whose lips he is still intent, and dies away 
while he is searching for life there." In Malone's edition 
Steevens expanded this note, giving passages from Shake- 
speare to prove that /(9o/ was a term of endearment. He 
added: ** Should the foregoing remark, however, be 
thought erroneous, the reader will forgive it, as it 
serves to introduce some contradictory observations 
from a critick, in whose taste and judgment too much 
confidence cannot easily be placed." Then follows Sir 
Joshua's note, which has been included in the Variorum 

I confess, I am one of those who have thought that Lear means 
his Fool, and not Cordelia. If he means Cordelia, then what I 
have always considered as a beauty, is of the same kind as the 
accidental stroke of the pencil that produced the foam. — Lear's 
affectionate remembrance of the Fool in this place, I used to 
think, was one of those strokes of genius, or of nature, which are 
so often found in Shakspeare, and in him only. 

Lear appears to have a particular affection for this Fool, whose 
fidelity in attending him, and endeavouring to divert him in his 
distress, seems to deserve all his kindness. 

Poor fool and knave, says he, in the midst of the thunderstorm, 
/ have one part in my heart thafs sorry yet for thee. 

It does not therefore appear to me, to be allowing too much 
consequence to the Fool, in making Lear bestow a thought on 
him, even when in still greater distress. Lear is represented as a 
good-natured, passionate, and rather weak old man; it is the old 
age of a cocker'd spoilt boy. There is no impropriety in giving 
to such a character those tender domestick affections, which 
would ill become a more heroick character, such as Othello, 
Macbeth, or Richard III. 

The words — A^^, no, no life-, I suppose to be spoken, not 
tenderly, but with passion: Let nothing now live; — let there be 



universal destruction j — Why should a dog, a horse, a rat, have life, 
and thou no breath at all? 

It may be observed, that as there was a necessity, the necessity 
of propriety at least, that this Fool, the favourite of the author, 
of Lear, and consequently of the audience, should not be lost 
or forgot, it ought to be known what became of him. — However, 
it must be acknowledged, that we cannot infer much from thence; 
Shakspeare is not always attentive to finish the figures of his 

I have only to add, that if an actor, by adopting the interpreta- 
tion mentioned above, should apply the words poor fool to Cor- 
delia, the audience would, I should imagine, think it a strange 
mode of expressing the grief and affection of a father for his dead 
daughter, and that daughter a queen. — The words, poor fool, are 
undoubtedly expressive of endearment; and Shakspeare himself, 
in another place, speaking of a dying animal, calls it. poor dappled 
fool'} but it never is, nor never can be, used with any degree of 
propriety, but to commiserate some very inferior object, which 
may be loved, without much esteem or respect. 

In printing this Malone adds a lengthy note, a part of 
which may be quoted because of its characterization of 
Reynolds as critic ; 

It is not without some reluctance that I express my dissent 
from the friend whose name is subscribed to the preceding note; 
whose observations on all subjects of criticism and taste are so 
ingenious and just, that posterity may be at a loss to determine, 
whether his consummate skill and execution in his own art, or 
his judgment on that and other kindred arts, were superior. 

Sir Joshua's note shows him to be a painter and a 
student of painters. His reference to the happy accident 
which enabled Apelles to paint the foam on a horse's 
mouth, and his phrase * * to finish the figures of his groups ' ' 
suggest one of his discourses at the Academy. The note 
was not written without some thought and some ex- 
perimenting. In the collection of Rupert Colomb, Esq., 
and now lent to the Royal Academy, is a page in Sir 

^ Js Ton Like It, u, i. This passage is one of the extracts which 
Reynolds included in the commonplace book in my possession. 


Joshua's hand which is obviously a first draft of a part of 
this note: 

If the fool in Lear insteed of being represented allways as a 
jester (for it must be rememberd that the fools in Shakespear are 
not what we call fools but a person whose trade it is to divert his 
master [)] if this fool had appeared when alone to have had some 
feeling for the misfortunes of his master, he would then have 
been been [sic] a very interesting character in the scene — if, as 
it is probable Shakespear intended such a Character It is not too 
much for Lear to bestow a single thought on him even in the 
midst of greater misfortunes 

Let the Critic ask himself this question would this remem- 
brance be a stroke of Genius of that bold uncommon kind such 
as is worthy of the Author, if it had been more apparently marked 
to have referrd to the fool — if so — why should we suppose 
Shakespear did not intend it, tho he had not marked it distinctly. 

The note must have been written in the 'eighties and was 
quite probably called forth as a result of some discussion 
at Sir Joshua's table. His friends Malone and Steevens, 
at work on their editions, presumably encouraged him 
and suggested that he express his opinion in writing. 

It must have been at about the same time that the 
painter tried his hand at a more pretentious essay on a 
similar topic. His lucubrations, which have not been 
published before, are in my possession. 

Dr. Johnson has with great modesty and he says himself with 
a trembling hand when he considers what authorities are against 
him, vi[n]dicated Shakespear in his neglect of the unities of Time 
& place^ — How much greater apprehensions ought a man of less 
critical authority to entertain when he endeavours to vi[n]dicate 
the same author in a breach of the establish'd rules of Criticism 

'^ "Yet when I speak thus slightly of dramatick rules, I cannot but 
recollect how much wit and learning may be produced against me; before 
such authorities I am afraid to stand. . . . Perhaps, what I have here not 
dogmatically but deliberately written, may recall the principles of the 
drama to a new examination. I am almost frighted at my own temerit)'; 
and when I estimate the fame and the strength of those that maintain the 
contrary opinion, am ready to sink down in reverential silence." Preface 
to Shakespeare. 


in a matter of perhaps still greater consequence that of mixing 
Trajedy & Comedy. Such a new undertaking^ must have the 
appearance to a Fore[i]gner espeacially to a French man as if 
the English had no other Ideas of excellence than what Shakes- 
pear afforded them and that they were resolved to vindicate 
his whole conduct, right or wrong, and [were] not content to 
excuse his defects but [must] even convert his faults into beautys/ 
convinced and aware of this hyper Criticism which is to attend 
us, we will still venture to look about and see what can be said m 
the defence of this practice. 

If the natural unsophist[ic]ated feelings of mankind are not 
on my side I have no resort I appeal only to those, I am well 
aware all Critics are of an other party and if [I] were to add they 
are freed by the other side I should speak what I believe, that is 
they think the credit of their critical skill depends on their 
supporting that opinion, for it must be acknowledged that the 
Critics from — down to Dryden have universally condemned this 
mixture, ^ on the other side the Practice of Shakespear stands in 
a manner alone ^ and as to the feelings of mankind they will say 
we have every reason to suppose we have those on our side, for 
it is on this ground that those rules were instituded by the Critics 
who are the representatives or more properly speaking the judges 
whose business it is to sum up the Evidence of the senses or 

^ Sir Joshua was hardly correct in calling this a new undertaking. 
Rambler no. 1 56 contains the following sentences: "What is there in the 
mingled drama which impartial reason can condemn ? ... Is it not certain 
that the tragick and comick affections have been moved alternately with 
equal force, and that no plays have oftener filled the eye with tears, and the 
breast with palpitation, than those which are variegated with interludes 
of mirth } . . . however . . . instead of vindicating tragicomedy by the 
success of Shakespeare, we ought, perhaps, to pay new honours to that 
transcendent and unbounded genius." Johnson had also discussed the 
subject in his Preface'. "That this is a practice contrary to the rules of 
criticism will be readily allowed ; but there is always an appeal open from 
criticism to nature. The end of writing is to instruct; the end of poetry 
is to instruct by pleasing. That the mingled drama may convey all the 
instruction of tragedy or comedy cannot be denied, because it includes 
both in its alterations of exhibition, and approaches nearer than either to 
the appearance of life, by shewing how great machinations and slender 
designs may promote or obviate one another, and the high and the low 
co-operate in the general system by unavoidable concatenation." 

^ The passage in italics was deleted by Reynolds. He himself has 
left the blank for the name of an early critic. 


feelings of mankind, This undoubtedly has a most formidable 
appearance I still think that if every soldier would act as if the 
whole victory depended upon himself that is judge from his own 
feelings this formidable phalanks will not appear so terrible It 
may be justly said in opposition to our opinion that if this uni- 
versally] receivM opinion is not founded on nature how came it to 
be first receiv'd and continue its existence in all codes of Criticism 
In answer to this it may be observed that works precede Criti- 
cism &c^ that few writers are capable of writing both Comedy 
& Trajedy, being thus from accident or incapacity seperate, the 
succeding Critics think they ought to be seperate and much good 
sense and reason may be brought forward to shew the propriety 
of this seperation, in which argument reason alone, not the 
passions, are consulted, every man acquiesces to those reason [s] 
and the rule is establishd. But if there should arise a Genius of 
such magnitude and comprehension equal at least to any of those 
great men who first suggested to the Critics this Idea of seperating 
Commedy & Trajedy who is equally capable of carr[y]ing both to 
their highest excellence, who could have no prejudice in favour 
of rules which he never knew, but whose sagacity and general 
knowledge ofhuman nature served in their stead, and who from the 
circumstance of his life had been allways to the Theatre and from 
his great sagacity knew the art of captivating the audience, drew 
his rules therefore from nature herself and not at second hand^ 

Here Sir Joshua reached the bottom of a page, and the 
end of his long sentence has been lost to posterity. What 
has been given may be considered as a sort of introduction . 
The body of the essay, which seems to have remained 

^ Cf. one of Sir Joshua's memoranda as printed by Northcote (ii, 54) 
*' Homer's Iliad was first written, then Aristotle drew his rules of an epic 
poem." And in the commonplace book in my possession (f. 54) he wrote 
"rules were made from Pictures, not Pictures from Rules." 

^ Cf. one of Sir Joshua's memoranda as printed by Northcote (ii, 54) 
"When a poet would represent a man inflamed by passion, to put a 
simile in his mouth he knows would be contrary to the rules of poetry, 
because it would be unnatural. But, suppose the poet truly felt the 
passion he would represent at the time he was writing upon it, (which 
most certainly Shakespeare did,) he would never look about for a simile, 
it would inevitably cause the passion to languish. Thus we see that rules 
are founded on nature, consequently a poet who felt his subject properly 
would have very little occasion for rules." Cf. post, Appendix II, p. 241 
(XIII, I). 


unwritten, can be roughly constructed from several pages 
headed Hints-, 

we must consider the means that Shakespear had of knowing what 
would & what would not please 

If it is said his audience wer[e] ignorant it must be likewise 
acknowledged they were unprejudiced, & that their sensibility- 
was not subdued by reason 

we have I suspect something of hippocrisy in our pleasures, we 
say we like what we think we ought to like 
It is an invariable rule with this great master of our passions never 
to let a Trajedy go out of his hands without some mixture of 

Trajedy requires a dash of Comedy, tho Comedy can do 
without Trajedy, it is sufficient that some parts are grave to 
give it weight to prevent its descending to a farce 
To state all the reasons on the other side such as the unwilling- 
[ness] to be disturbed in your serious thoughts the unwellcome- 
ness of merriment to grief (how far this is sophistry, has a man 
real grief) does it leave any effects on the mind five minutes after 
does he not wipe his eyes & freely converse immediatly after 
Vari[e]ty to be insisted on 

Instance Lady Spencers laughing succeding immediatly to 
the greatest Theatrical distress 

The habit of our life is Trajedy h Comedy. Society a con- 
vivial party 

It is the sluggish state of mind that makes unfitness, when 
the whole mind is alive it easily moves to the right or to the left 
from sadness to merriment or the contrary 

A man whos[e] mind has been pierced^ with the distress of 
a Tragedy is more susceptable of merriment immediatly after, 
than it was when he first cooly enterd the Theatre 

Then comes a page headed Conclusion : 

All the Apologies which Dr. Johnson has thought it necessary 
to make for our Poets neglect of the unities of time & place are 
equally necessary for the admission of that monster (as it is often 
called)^ of Tragi-comidy into civilized Society; It has undoubtedly 
the appearance of making a universal sacrifice of the wisdom of 
ages The practice of Poets to the shrine of an individual Poet 

^ Sir Joshua defined pierced as thoroughly touched in a note to Othello 
{Northcote, i, 149). 

^ The second of these brackets was omitted by Reynolds. 


If the rules of Epic Poetry are formed from the Practice of 
Homer, and those of Tragedy from Sophocles & Euripides and of 
Comedy from Menander & Terence and if a new and great 
Genius has arisen equal to any of them and superior for univer- 
sality of Powers, with success superior to what was ever before 
seen and upon a plan in the general construction totally different 
[it is]^ time for a new code of laws or at least for the old to be 
fairly and candidly revised. 

In the Royal Academy there Is another page headed 
Conclusion^ which is probably an earlier draft : 

Professing to admire and be more delighted with a representa- 
tion of Shakespears plays than with those of any other writer but 
at the same time to regret that he has mixed Trajedy with Comedy 
(or rather Comedy with Trajedy — for Comedy will stand alone 
better than Trajedy), This reminds me of a sort of Criticism 
which we Painters often hear,^ where the effects of the Colours 
or of Light and shade shall be admired but at the same time con- 
demning a particular colour, or a particular shade on which the 
artist himself knew all that brilliancy of the effect which pro- 
duced the admiration depended, — I like says the Connoiseur 
the brilliancy of the light, but I wish this shade not so dark, or 
this sunny yellow tint has a fine effect but I want this blue colour 
away, in short wishing to remove the very things that produce 
the effect 

Primarily an artist, Sir Joshua was nevertheless prone 
to draw upon literature and literary men both in his 
writings and his conversation to illustrate what he wished 
to express, and there can be little doubt but that what he 
has jotted down about Shakespeare was made the topic 
of conversation at Leicester Fields, at the Turk's Head, 
or in Mayfair. He early formed the habit of saying little 
whether in public or private of painting or of painters 
and seems to have resented the attempts of others to lead 
him to discuss such topics. 3 This habit fostered the 

^ The words supplied may have been written bv Reynolds. The edge 
of the page is hidden by the inlaying. 

^ From this point to the end of the page everything has been cancelled. 
3 Northcote, ii, 77. 


notion of his being a man of culture. His writings are 
filled with quotations from Latin authors, with allusions 
to Homer, Plato, and Aristotle, with excerpts from 
Shakespeare, Milton, and Pope, with references to 
Moliere, Boileau, and Corneille, or to his contemporaries, 
Goldsmith, Gray, and Johnson. And so it happened that, 
not many months after his death, a writer in one of the 
newspapers could say of him what is printed at the head 
of this chapter, that he was a *' critic in the Classics".^ 
The assertion is worth investigating. 

As Johnson said of Pope, " it is not very likely that he 
overflowed with Greek ".^ There is no record of his 
having possessed a single volume written in Greek. 
When he quotes a saying of Zeuxis, it is in Latin, "in 
aeternitatem pingo".3 When he reads Homer, it is 
Pope's translation that he uses ; when he reads Plutarch, 
it is Dryden's version. I suspect that Reynolds was that 
** gentleman, by no means deficient in literature," who 
** discovered less acquaintance with one of the Classicks 
than Johnson expected". **Why, Sir," the great man 
said to Langton, "who is there in this town who knows 
any thing of Clenardus but you and L?"^ The publica- 
tion of the Boswell Papers reveals that the Somebody who 
"found fault with writing verses in a dead language *', 
for which heresyhewas sharply reprimanded by Johnson, 
was Sir Joshua. 5 A Johnson or a Langton, strong in his 
knowledge of Clenardus, could never have thought such 
thoughts. Sir Joshua's lack of sympathy indicates that 
however small his Latin, he had less Greek. 

^ The article in T/ie Wor/dis signed "P". Itis reprinted in "Anthony 
Pasquin's" Memoirs of the Royal Academicians, ^79^> 72. 

^ Boswell's Life, iii, 403 n. 

3 IVorks, i, 67. 

'^ Boswell's Life, iv, 20. According to Fanny Burney, Langton was 
"commonly called ihe Greek Langton'''' (lot 485 in a sale at Sotheby's, 
31 July, 1934). 

5 Boswell Papers, vi, 46; cf. Boswell's Life, ii, 371. 


And his command of Latin was, to say the least, not 
remarkable. When one reads the discourses for the first 
time, he is struck by the facility with which the author 
quotes Cicero, Quintilian, Horace, and their contempo- 
raries. Sir Joshua gives the impression of being an 
omnivorous reader and of being equally at home whether 
the book he was reading happened to be the Satyricon 
of Petronius or the Traveller of Goldsmith. Actually it 
is doubtful if he read much Latin after leaving home when 
a young man. He was a cultured gentleman, endowed 
with a mind which though not original was certainly 
unusually active, but his classical attainments should not 
be stressed. 

Like many another yvho has been deprived of the 
orthodox training offerfed by a university and who 
associates in later life with the "educated". Sir Joshua 
seems to have tried to conceal what he thought a weakness . 
Hence, just as a man of small stature is likely to hold 
himself unnaturally erect, the author of the discourses 
liberally sprinkled his writings with the outward signs 
of an academic education. Twice in the discourses when 
quoting Roman authors he refers to Junius 's Painting of 
the Ancients as his source.^ His doing so, as we shall see 
in the next chapter, is analogous to a child's confessing 
to having had two pieces of chocolate when in reality 
he has eaten a dozen. When quoting lesser known 
writers like Tertullian and Proclus, he wisely confesses 
that his source is a secondary one ; but when his author is 
Cicero or Quintilian, whom he might have been expected 
to read, with equal wisdom he conceals his source. 

I have mentioned Junius because so many of Sir 
Joshua's quotations are there found and because there is 
definite proof that he frequently used this book. But he 
tapped other veins as well. Throughout this study, when 
mentioning a Latin quotation copied by Reynolds, I have 
^ Works, i, 54, 223. 


suggested as a possible source for it a book which we know 
he read. But a few quotations should be discussed here, 
since they have proved stumbling-blocks to editors of the 
discourses. On of these is the saying of Zeuxis already 
referred to, which is inserted in the third discourse. 
Mr Fry endeavoured to track this to its source, but was 
finally forced to conclude that ** this must be quoted from 

recollection of some Latin translation of. Plutarch**.^ 

Now it so happens that the quotation was used by Steele 
in Spectator no. 52, and we have positive evidence that 
Reynolds read the Spectator? Consequently we are not 
justified in assuming that Reynolds read ''some Latin 
translation " of Plutarch. 

To treat satisfactorily other passages which have 
caused trouble to scholars necessitates a digression, 
which is the more permissible in that it bears directly 
on Sir Joshua, critic of literature. It happens that his 
earliest reference to Francis Bacon is in a letter to the 
Bishop of St Asaph, dated 26 October, 1784.3 *'I 
remember," he wrote, *'Sir Francis Bacon advises as a 
refined piece of art, to mention sometimes in a postscript, 
as if just recollected what is in reality the chief subject of 
the Letter." Reynolds adds that such tricks are dis- 
tasteful to him, and yet I believe he was guilty of a certain 
amount of trickery while penning the sentence. He 
begins his remark with the casual ''I remember", from 

'^ The Discourses of Sir Joshua Reynolds, ed. Roger Fry, London, 

^ Cf. post. Appendix I, p. 207. The boast of Zeuxis, incidentally, was 
a favourite of Boswell's. In September, 1770, when Sir Joshua's ideas 
for his third discourse were germinating, Boswell published an essay 
on the theatre in the London Magazine (xxxix, 469), in which he quotes 
the phrase. Nine years later he quoted it in Hypochondriack XVIII. 
Cf. Boswell Papers, xi, 274. But it will be noted that Boswell's version 
is "pingo asternitati" and that Reynolds employs the form used by 

3 Letters, 117. The two paragraphs in the third discourse in which 
Bacon is introduced were not published until 1797. Cf. post, p. 190. 


which the natural inference is that he had long been 
familiar with Bacon's Essays, Yet in the many pages of his 
which survive there is no allusion to the essayist before 
this, whereas the twelfth discourse, which was being 
formulated in his mind while he was writing to the genial 
bishop, contains in its original form at least three such 
references. One of these, as his reading notes prove, 
is to The Advancement of Learnings the others to the 
Essays J- In other words, ungracious as the suggestion 
may be, it seems possible that he was reading the Essays 
just before starting the letter to his friend the bishop. 

We have his own word to prove that he remembered 
reading Bacon's essay Of Cunnings but to charge him 
with trickery in this instance is perhaps unwarranted. 
What appears more suspicious is gleaned from one of 
the pages of reading notes just mentioned. After a 
quotation from Bacon's essay ''on the Nature of men" 
Sir Joshua has written: "Serpens nisi serpentem come- 
derit non fit Draco. Idem", proving without argument 
his source for the Latin quotation. The first of the two 
excerpts from this essay is paraphrased in the twelfth 
discourse. Later in the same discourse he writes : 

The daily food and nourishment of the mind of an Artist is 
found in the great works of his predecessors. There is no other 
way for him to become great himself Serpens nisi serpentem 
comederit, non Jit draco ^ is a remark of a whimsical Natural History, 
which I have read, though I do not recollect its title; however 
false as to dragons, it is applicable enough to Artists.^ 

Several years after Sir Joshua's death, the scholarly 
Malone endeavoured to locate the source and found a 
similar phrase in Ben Jonson's Catiline^ but the page in 
the archives of the Royal Academy solves the problem. 
The question which follows is how honest Reynolds was 
in avowing ignorance as to where he had found the 
phrase. In the discourse he mentions Bacon by name 
^ /iTcri/, ii, 76, 87, 92. C/./'Oj/, Appendix I, p. 214. - Id.\\,Qji. 


in one passage, paraphrases him in another without 
revealing his source, and quotes from him a third time, 
giving a misleading reference. That he did this to appear 
a man of wide reading seems a reasonable conjecture.^ 

Among the additions made to the Discourses before 
they appeared in Malone's edition of 1797, as we shall 
see,^ were some further passages inspired by re-reading 
Bacon. And among the additions to the thirteenth dis- 
course is the rhetorical question "quid enim deformius, 
quam scenam in vitam transferre? " Careful editors of the 
Discourses like Mr Fry and M. Dimier fail to annotate 
this. The most careful of their predecessors, Leisching, 
attributes it to the Epistles of Apollinaris Sidonius, Dr 
Greenway denies this, but does not give the source of 
the phrase.3 Sir Joshua's source was in all probability 
The Advancement of Learning. The quotation is to be 
found on page 274 of his edition. 

In brief, then, since the Latin quotations which Rey- 
nolds scattered throughout his discourses can be found 
in some half dozen books which we know he had read 

^ Cf. a passage in the Boswell Papers (xvii, 115) concerning Lord 
Macartney: "One day Lord Lonsdale called on him when he had been 
reading and had left his Book till he should be powdered. It was 
'Anecdotes'. Lonsdale chanced to open it at the very place where 
Mcartney had been reading. That day, dining at Lord Bute's together, 
Mcartney, in his usual way, dropped a word on the subject he wished 
to introduce, and let the Company keep up the ball; if going down, 
would just throw in as much as to keep it up. At last, with appearance 
of deep recollection: 'I have read, I am not sure in what Authour — ' 
And then quoted very solemnly what he had found on the subject in the 
'Anecdotes', taken from some Writer of eminence. Lonsdale called out, 
'I know where you read it: in the Book of "Anecdotes" you were 
reading this morning'. Mcartney. 'O, no, it was not in that.' Lonsdale. 
'But it was, for I happened to open it at the Place, and found the very 
passage.' He coloured as red! Lord Bute burst out a laughing." Perhaps 
it should be added that Lonsdale hated Macartney and that the story rests 
on his authority. 

^ Post^ p. 190. 

3 Some Predecessors of Sir Joshua Reynolds (unpublished), p. 272. 


with care, we are hardly justified in considering him 
"a critic in the Classics". That he was so termed by a 
contemporary merely proves that he had succeeded 
in deceiving those who did not know him intimately. 
Northcote, who lived with him for five years as pupil, 
and Boswell, who ate innumerable dinners with him, 
were not so deceived,^ but though they were not im- 
pressed with his classical learning, they did consider his 
judgment on literary matters worthy of respect. And 
while his reputation as a literary critic was based chiefly 
on his association with men of letters, it can be attributed, 
at least in part, to the fact that he made the most of those 
books which he read. 

^ Northcote^ i, lo; ante^ p. io6. 


'Every man whose business is description, ought to be 
tolerably conversant with the poets, in some language or 
other; that he may imbibe a poetical spirit, and enlarge 
his stock of ideas." Seventh Discourse. 

While dining one day at the home of Noel Desenfans, 
connoisseur and art dealer, Sir Abraham Hume remarked 
how pleasant it was to see rooms furnished with fine 
pictures. ** Yes", added Sir Joshua, ''to see walls decor- 
ated with thought."^ In saying this Reynolds was 
merely echoing a sentiment which runs through all his 
writings. Painting he speaks of as **this literate and 
liberal profession". The great painter is a thinking man, 
one "that enlarges the sphere of his understanding by 
a variety of knowledge, and warms his imagination with 
the best productions of antient and modern poetry".^ 

That he was sincere in this belief is not to be ques- 
tioned. In the foregoing chapter we have seen him 
enlarging the sphere of his understanding by a variety 
of knowledge. We have seen that he is inclined to discuss 
Shakespeare, Pope, or Homer, rather than Rubens, 
Raphael, or Michelangelo. We have seen that although 
his fame and livelihood depended on his mastery of 

^ Farington's Diary, v, 150. 

^ Works, \, 69, 146. Cf. Gainsborough's scornful remark (lot 417 in 
the sale at Sotheby's, 29 May, 1934): "I never could have patience to 
read Poetical impossibilities, the very food of a Painter, especially if he 
intends to be Knighted in this land of roast beef, so well do serious People 
love froth." 


"tonos" and "harmoge", he nevertheless let his mind 
play on the advantages and disadvantages of com- 
bining tragedy and comedy. We have seen that he was 
considered by his contemporaries as a man of letters, 
and that the great dictator pronounced him to be a 
thinker. Sir Joshua was preaching what he practised. 

Now although this is assuredly true, he has never been 
regarded as a bookish person. A passage in the seventh 
discourse is generally looked upon as indicative of how 
he acquired an education. After recommending that 
the young artist be * ' tolerably conversant with the poets 
and not "wholly unacquainted with that part of philo- 
sophy which gives an insight into human nature", he 
adds : 

For this purpose, it is not necessary that he should go into such 
a compass of reading, as must, by distracting his attention, dis- 
qualify him for the practical part of his profession, and make him 
sink the performer in the critick. Reading, if it can be made the 
favourite recreation of his leisure hours, will improve and enlarge 
his mind, without retarding his actual industry. What such partial 
and desultory reading cannot afford, may be supplied by the 
conversation of learned and ingenious men, which is the best of 
all substitutes for those who have not the means or opportunities 
of deep study. There are many such men in this age; and they will 
be pleased with communicating their ideas. . .if they are treated 
with that respect and deference which is so justly their due.^ 

Few can read this passage without thinking of its author's 
habit of choosing *' learned and ingenious men" as his 
friends. And an attempt to prove that there was nothing 
autobiographical in it would be absurd. Sir Joshua was 
not a bookish person, but to conclude from this that he 
seldom read is equally absurd. Evidence is not lacking 
to show how he made use of the books in his library, and 
in a treatment of his literary career such evidence should 
not be entirely overlooked. 

^ Works, i, 191 et seq. 


I shall not consider to what extent Sir Joshua's 
aesthetic theories were moulded by the authors which he 
read.^ What is here attempted is to present certain facts 
relating to Sir Joshua's reading at which I have arrived 
independently. Of Sir Joshua as a theorist it is only 
necessary to say what Prof. Thompson suggests and 
Dr Greenway proves, that although he was by no means 
original — as indeed he admits in his Discourses — he 
expressed the best thought of his day so well that his 
lectures are still read with pleasure when the writers who 
influenced him are all but forgotten. That he was no 
plagiarist is a fact which in tiie light of the following pages 
should be stressed. He pursued the same method in 
writing that he practised and recommended in painting; 
he borrowed an attitude from one master, an expression 
from another, but the ideas as finally expressed were 
stamped with his own individuality. 

Most if not all of the writers on painting read by 
Reynolds emphasized the necessity of reading poetry, 
but when he speaks of the artist who ' ' warms his imagina- 
tion with the best productions of antient and modern 
poetry", he is consciously or unconsciously quoting de 
Piles, who in a note to Dufresnoy's Art of Painting lists 
a number of books *'qui par leur lecture echauffent 
rimagination ' '? Chief among these books are the Bible, 

^ This complex topic has not been neglected. Paul Ortlepp's Sir 
Joshua Reynolds. Ein Beitrag zur Geschtchte der Aesthetik des i8. 
J ahrhunderts in England was partly published in 1906 at Strassburg. 
An admirable, though brief, article, "The Discourses of Sir Joshua 
Reynolds", was contributed by Prof. E. N. S. Thompson to Publications 
of the Modern Language Association in 1 9 1 7. In unpublished form in the 
Yale University Library are C. S. Peete's Sir Joshua Reynolds^ Writer 
and Theorist (M.A. 192 1) and Dr G. L. Greenway 's Some Predecessors 
of Sir Joshua Reynolds in the Criticism of the Fine Arts (Ph.D. 1930). 
In the library of Northwestern University, also unpublished, is Prof. 
F. H. Heidbrink's The Theory of Art, 1436-1800 (Ph.D. 1927). 

^ VArt de Peinture de C. A. du Fresnoy, ed. de Piles, Paris, 175 1 


Homer and Virgil, the Metamorphoses of Ovid, and 
Plutarch's Lives, There is little question but that Rey- 
nolds was an obedient pupil with respect to all of 

Most of them, in fact, he read when a boy at Plympton. 
After his death three editions of the Metamorphoses were 
sold from his library, and since one of his copies was 
annotated, we may assume that he had read it with some 
care. Plutarch in the translation attributed to Dryden 
was one of the first books which attracted his attention, 
and he read the Bible under the guidance of his father. 
He later declared that Isaiah had always been his favourite 
book in the Old Testament, but, judging from extracts 
in his commonplace books, he was chiefly impressed 
with the Apocrypha.^ 

According to de Piles, the greatest literature outside 
of the Bible is to be found in Homer. Although Homer's 
name frequently appears in Sir Joshua's writings, as far 
as I know there has never been any proof that he had more 
than a slight acquaintance with the Iliad or the Odyssey, 
We should have assumed that this side of his education 
would not have been neglected; we can now prove the 
assumption. The commonplace book in my possession 
reveals that the Homer which he read was Homer still, 
but Homer modernized. That he not only read but 
studied Mr Pope's elegant translation may be assumed 
from his references to the notes added by Pope. The way 
in which he has entered his excerpts is puzzling. He 
skips from one volume to another, and paragraphs or 
sentences which follow one another in the text are trans- 
posed in the manuscript. In reprinting Sir Joshua's 
transcripts I have retained his arrangement, but it is 
obvious that this does not represent the order in which 
they were entered by him. For example, after the first 
selection he has written the abbreviation for "ditto", 
^ Cf. ante, p. 6 and post. Appendix I, pp. 206 et seq. 



which alludes to the reference at the end of the second. 
I have no explanation for his having adopted this left- 
handed method.^ 

It is impossible to catalogue the books in Sir Joshua's 
library which had nothing to do with painting. Shake- 
speare and Ben Jonson, Bacon and Milton, and the out- 
standing wits of the Augustan Age — Dryden and Pope, 
Addison, and Steele — he knew well, and to this list 
should be added the names of a host of his contemporaries, 
many of whom were his personal friends. He was one of 
the subscribers to Robert L loyd's Poems^ which appeared 
in 1762; his copy of Mardal's Epigrams^ edited by his 
friend Elphinston, was in the possession of the late Sir 
Robert Edgcumbe and was recently advertised in a 
catalogue issued by G. Michelmore and Co. I own his 
copy of A Voyage to the lie de France ; and his copies of 
Warton's Essay on Pope (London, 1^62), Pensees In- 
genieuses des Peres de FEglise (Paris, 1700), and Cento 
Favole Bellissime (Venice, 1661) received notice many 
years ago in Notes and 'slueries? 

Romances and novels he seems to have avoided in 
general. He was ashamed to confess that he had never 
read the Sorrows of Werther. Northcote replied in his 
defence that he should *'have been ashamed if he had 
read it, as it was a novel, and only fit reading for young 
girls. He tartly answered . . . that it was his place to have 
read that which every person else had read ".3 He owned 
a copy of the Arabian Nights^ which was recently in the 
Brick Row Book Shop of New York, and he praises Tom 
Jones in his thirteenth discourse, but the only writer of 
fiction whom he seems to have read **with avidity" was 
Fanny Burney. His copies of Evelina and Cecilia were 
in the possession of the late Sir Robert Edgcumbe, and 

^ The transcripts are printed in Appendix I {posi^ pp. 212 et seq^, 
^ V, vi, 88; vii, 18; ix, 34. 
3 Northcote^ ii, 245. 


we are told that he pictured the beautiful heroine as 
Jenny Hamilton, wife of the dramatist, Edward Moore. ^ 

But there can be little doubt that the bulk of Sir 
Joshua's reading could be characterized as philosophical. 
The writings of Harris and Beattie he preferred to those 
of Richardson and Sterne. He read not for amusement 
but to ''improve and enlarge his mind". The author who 
best served him in this respect was Samuel Johnson. 
How engrossed Reynolds became in the Life of Savage 
is well known. He himself contributed to the /<^/(?r. His 
copy oi Rasselas^ which he considered to be ''writ by an 
Anger', was in the possession of the late Sir Robert 
Edgcumbe. The copy of the political tracts which 
Johnson gave him is in the library of Pembroke College, 
Oxford, and he owned two copies of the L/i;^j^///^<?P^^/j.^ 
Even the 'Dictionary was probably perused by him. It 
will be remembered that in his will Johnson bequeathed 
to Reynolds a copy of the third edition, an edition in 
which Reynolds is quoted as an authority for the use of 
certain words. 

Many passages in the Discourses which obviously 
derive from the writings of Johnson have been indicated 
by Prof. Thompson, whose monograph treats of the 
sources of Sir Joshua's theories of art. The general thesis 
of this monograph is that Reynolds spent little time 
reading. "His interest in these problems of aesthetics, 
and his knowledge of them, were mainly owing to Burke, 
Johnson, Beattie, and others in his circle of intimate 
acquaintance. "3 This conclusion is perhaps justifiable, 
but it should not be over-emphasized. Prof. Thompson 
suggests that the painter had studied Burke's Enquiry 
"but casually, if at all, and that he was still less tamiliar 

^ Farington's Diary, iii, 222. 

^ Cf. ante, p. 83 n. The life of Pope he considered a chef-d'cgtivre 
{Letters of Horace Walpole, ed. Toynbee, xi, 427). 
3 Fub. Mod. Lang. Assoc, xxxii, 360. 


with the work of du Bos, Gerard, Buffier, Lord Shaftes- 
bury, and others".^ 

Although I have no proof to offer, I cannot believe 
that Reynolds would have neglected a treatise on 
aesthetics written by one of his closest friends. ** It is well 
known'*, writes Prior, ''that toward the decline of life, 
Mr. Burke was solicited by several of his intimate friends, 
particularly Sir Joshua Reynolds and Dr. Laurence, to 
revise and enlarge this treatise by the addition of such 
facts and observations as thirty years must have supplied. 
The popularity of the work, they said, and the excellence 
of what was already done, fully deserved that it should 
be rendered as complete as possible."^ 

One wonders whether the artist could have overlooked 
Dubos's Reflexions sur la poesie^ la peinture^ et la musique^ 
a book, which, according to Voltaire, all artists were 
reading. In the autumn of 1 769, when the president was 
preparing his second discourse, he was one of the guests 
at a dinner given by Boswell and heard Johnson deliver 
this utterance: **We have an example of true criticism 
in Burke's 'Essay on the Sublime and Beautiful'; and, if I 
recollect, there is also Du Bos ; and Bouhours, who shews 
all beauty to depend on truth." 3 Such a remark would 
hardly have been disregarded at such a time by a man 
who admittedly sought help in formulating his ideas on 

Concerning Sir Joshua's familiarity with the others 
mentioned by Prof. Thompson, new information is 
supplied by the publication of the Reynolds manuscripts 
in the Royal Academy. The verso of folio 54 indicates 
that in later years he had not altogether forgotten Shaftes- 
bury, whom he was reading in 1752 when in Italy, and 
folio 32 proves conclusively that he read Alexander 

' Pub. Mod. Lang. Assoc, xxxii, 360. 

^ Prior's Life of Burke, London, 1826, i, 58. 

3 Boswell's Life, ii, 90. 


Gerard — or at least d'Alembert's Reflections^ which 
Gerard included in his £jj^jy 0;/ 7^<^j/(?, published in 1764.^ 
Naturally enough, the bulk of Sir Joshua's library 
was made up of books of prints and essays on the fine 
arts. Some of these volumes are to be seen to-day in 
public or private collections. Three of these he probably 
bought when in the Netherlands: Christopher Corro- 
lanus's T)e Arte Gymnastka (Amsterdam, 1672), which 
is in the Victoria and Albert Museum; Gerard Reynst's 
Variarum Imaginum^ etc. (Amsterdam, n.d.), which is in 
the Metropolitan Museum, New York; and Horace's 
Emblems^ illustrated by Otho Vaenius (Antwerp, 1 6 1 2), 
which is in my possession. Malton's Compleat Treatise 
on Perspective (London, 1776) is in the collection of 
Wilmarth S. Lewis, Esq., and Dr G. L. Greenway owns 
Claude's Liber Veritatis^ prints executed by Earlom and 
published by Boydell in 1777. In the Yale University 
Library is de Piles's Cours de Peinturepar Principes (Paris, 
1708), the gift of Dr Greenway. On the title-page, as 
is often the case with these books, is Sir Joshua's signature 
and an impression of the stamp which marked his 
drawings and prints. On the fly-leaf is inscribed: "J Rey- 
nolds the Gift of the HonH^ Capt. Hamilton." After 
Sir Joshua's death the book must have been purchased 
by the son and biographer of his fellow-artist, for on 
page 57 is the inscription: ''John Romney 1801." 
Almost a century ago a writer in Notes and ^leries 
announced that he possessed Evelyn's Sculptura^ or the 
History and Art of Chalcography^ a duodecimo published 
in 1662, bound in old marbled calf and containing Sir 
Joshua's signature and stamp. At the same time another 
correspondent wrote that he owned Sandrart's Academia 
Artis Pictorice with similar marks of identification.- Two 
other volumes from his library have been sold by 

' Post, Appendix II, p. 222 (IV, 7), p. 228 (VII, 5). 
^ Notes and 'slueries, V, vi, 219. 


Sotheby and Co.: Guil. de Branteghen's Pomarium 
Mysticum turn novorum turn veterum fructum (Antwerp, 
1535) and, from the collection of Samuel Rogers, pasted 
in an oblong folio album bound in old vellum of the 
sixteenth century, Apuleius^ thirty-two engravings by the 
*' Master of the Die", illustrating the story of Cupid and 

Many of his books were sold with his prints and draw- 
ings by Phillips, the auctioneer, in March, 1798. It is 
unnecessary to list all of the books which were disposed 
of in this sale. Of particular interest, however, were 
Sir William Chambers's Treatise on Civil Architecture \ 
The Works of Bartolomeo^ by Thomas Patch, whom 
Reynolds had known intimately in student days in Italy; 
two books by Jonathan Richardson, Remarks on Paintings 
in Italy and the Essay on Painting which had first directed 
his attention to painting as a profession ; The Principles 
of Beauty^ by Alexander Cozens; Turnbull's Curious 
Collection of Ancient Paintings ; and several volumes, the 
authorship of which is not given, such as An Essay on 
Landscape Paintings An Essay on Design^ and a History 
of Painting.^ 

Redenvoerengen Gedaan in de Teken Acad, is reminis- 
cent of his journeys to Holland and his introduction to 
Lambert Kraye. Michelangelo's Rime and G. Franco's 
T>ella Nobilta del Disegno he may have acquired when in 
Italy.^ But of his foreign books the great majority seem 
to have been French. These included A. Bosse's Diffe- 
rentes Manieres de Dessiner et Peindre (Paris, 1644), two 
copies of the works of Gerard Lairesse, one of which may 

^ These and the other titles from this sale are taken from the catalogue 
in my possession. There is another copy of this catalogue in the Print 
Room of the British Museum. 

* His copy of Vasari's Lives was not sold in 1798. From references 
which he gives in the Discourses and the catalogue of Ralph's Exhibition, 
his edition was that published in three quarto volumes at Bologna in 
1647. {Works, i, 98; Graves and Cronin, iv, 1605.) 


have been the edition sponsored by Hendrik Jansen, 
De Monville's Vie de Pierre Mignard (Paris, 1730), 
Felibien's Dissertations sur les Ouvrages des plus Fameux 
Peintres^ a Voyage Pittoresque de Paris ^ UArtde la Peinture^ 
UOptique des Couleurs^ and Architecture Generale de 

The presence of these books on Sir Joshua's shelves 
is no proof that their owner was famihar with their con- 
tents. In fact, with the exception of Richardson, Du- 
fresnoy, Vasari, and FeHbien, there is no evidence that 
any of the books just mentioned were read by him. 
Dr Greenway has proved that when Reynolds quotes 
from the Cours de Peinture par Principes it is from the 
English translation (London, 1743), nor would it be 
difficult to prove that Reynolds knew Dufresnoy through 

That he had carefully read other books in this sale is 
easily proved. One of these, published in 1764, was 
An Essay on Paintings written, originally in Italian, by 
Count Francesco Algarotti and dedicated to the Society 
for Promoting Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce, of 
which Reynolds was a member. There is only one refer- 
ence to Algarotti in the discourses,^ but this by no means 
reveals Sir Joshua's debt to him. Here are to be found 
almost all of the fundamental ideas later developed by 
Reynolds. And unlike the majority of Sir Joshua's pre- 
decessors in aesthetic theorizing, Algarotti wrote a book 
which is still very readable. Not only is Sir Joshua in 
agreement with him on fundamentals, but there are 
several cases of verbal likenesses which are, in my 
opinion, too close to be explained by chance. Thus 
Algarotti says of the Venetians and Flemish that "they 
aimed more at charming the senses than at captivating 
the understanding". With this compare the attitude 
consistently adopted by Reynolds, that the Venetian and 
' Works^ ii, 60; Algarotti, op. cit. jz et seq. 


Flemish schools were inferior to the Roman, which made 
use of the Grand Style. In this connection Reynolds 
informs the young artist that ** instead of seeking praise, 
by deceiving the superficial sense of the spectator, he 
must strive for fame, by captivating the imagination".^ 
Reference has already been made to the list of books 
which de Piles recommended to every painter. The list is 
a lengthy one. After mentioning many of the classics he 
thus concludes his catalogue : 

Many Moderns have written of [the arts] with small Success, 
taking a large compass, without coming directly to the Point; 
and talking much, without saying any thing; yet some of them 
have acquitted themselves successfully enough. Amongst others, 
Leonardo da Vinci (though without method;) Faulo LomaxxOy 
whose Book is good for the greatest Part, but whose Discourse 
is too dijffusive and very tiresome: John Baptist Armenini^ 
Franciscus Junius^ and Monsieur de Cambrayy to whose Preface 
I rather invite you, than to his Book. We are not to forget what 
yion^iQxir Felebien has written of the Historical Peice oi Alexander, 
by the Hand of Monsieur Le Brun: Besides that the Work it self 
is very eloquent, the Foundations which he establishes for the 
making of a good Picture, are wonderfully solid. Thus I have 
given you very near the Library of a Painter, and a Catalogue of 
such Books as he ought either to read himself, or have read to 

At least three of these books were in Sir Joshua's 
library and were read by him with some care. Leonardo 
da Vinci's Treatise on Paintingvi?iS translated into English 
in the early part of the eighteenth century and is twice 
alluded to in the discourses. Felibien's Tent of Darius 
Explained^ translated into English by Col. William 
Parsons (London, 1703), was owned by Samuel Rey- 

^ Works, i, 53; Algarotti, op. cit. 122. Cf. Works, i, 128 and 
Algarotti, 130. An example of his twice drawing from Algarotti an 
illustration which he applies to Rubens has been pointed out above 
{ante, p. 80). 

^ The Art of Painting by C. A. du Fresnoy (Dryden's translation), 
London, 1 7 1 6, 114^/ seq. 


nolds. A long note written by Sir Joshua on one of the 
pages of this copy is printed below.^ Similarly annotated 
was Junius 's Painting of the Ancients^ from which Rey- 
nolds borrowed extensively throughout his literary 
career. So many passages in the discourses can be traced 
directly to Junius that a discussion of Sir Joshua's 
indebtedness to him fitly concludes this chapter on his 

Francois Du John, who latinized his name to Fran- 
ciscus Junius, brought out in the early part of the 
seventeenth century a scholarly volume entitled T)e 
Pictura Veterum^ which in certain respects may be com- 
pared to his contemporary Burton's Anatomy of Melan- 
choly, It is little more than an overpowering collection 
of quotations from more than two hundred Greek and 
Roman writers relating to painting; it is not the sort of 
book which one reads through with ease, but is invaluable 
as a work of reference. His patroness, his ' ' singular good 
Ladie and Mistresse", the Countess of Arundel and 
Surrey, desired that the book be translated from the 
Latin. Whereupon, feeling himself inspired with courage 
by the signification of her noble desire (which wrought 
in his heart, what an absolute command useth to worke 
in others), Junius stoutly fell to his taske, with the result 
that in 1638 appeared THE PAINTING OF THE 
ANCIENTS^ in three Bookes: Declaring by Historicall 
Observations and Examples, THE BEGINNING, PRO- 
GRESSE, AND CONSVMMATION of that most Noble 
ART, And how those ancient ARTIFICERS attained to 
their still so much admired Excellencie. 

Sir Joshua must have had a copy of the Latin original, 
since he refers to it in the third discourse and twice quotes 
from it — in the seventh discourse and on the title-page 
of the edition of 1778. It was the English translation, 

^ Ante, p. 5, and/'o//, Appendix II, p. 232 (^'III, 7). 


however, which he read with care. His copy of this, 
lot 1995 i^ PhilHps's sale, was again sold at auction in 
1854. It was said to contain two autograph signatures 
of its famous owner and manuscript notes in his hand.^ 
To see these notes would be instructive for students of 
the origins of the discourses, for in all probability they 
contain the germs of ideas later expanded, as is seen in the 
case of his marginalia on the Tent of Darius Explained. 
I should imagine that one of them concerns the ''cele- 
brated invention of Timanthes"^ and another the 
necessity of appearing to paint with ease. The central 
paragraph of a manuscript page in the Royal Academy 
reads : 

a man that is said to hurt his work by too much diligence may 
with much greater propriety be said not [to] have diligence 
enough he who dances with a constraint air as if he carefully 
measured every step has not taken the previous necessary pains 
has not used the same diligence as he who has the appearance of 
dancing careless without art &[c]. The verses of Antimachus. 
see 326.3 

Opening the English edition of Junius at page 326, one 
reads : 

the verses of Antimachus, sayth [Plutarch], and the pictures of 
Dionysius, who both were Colophonians, having vehemencie and 
intension, seeme to he forcibly expressed and too much belaboured: 
hut Nicomachus his pictures and Homer his verses have this also 
besides all the other efficacie and grace which is in them, that you 
would thinke them made out of hand with much ease. 

It is impossible to set limits to the extent of Sir 
Joshua's indebtedness to Junius. The ideas expounded 
by the two are in a great many instances identical, but 
there is always the possibility that Reynolds might have 

^ This description is to be found in a cutting in Anderdon's copy of 
Edwards's Anecdotes of Painters in the Print Room of the British 

^ Works, i, 282. Cf. Junius, op. cit. 242. 

3 Cf. post, Appendix II, p. 234 (XI, 3). 


arrived at his opinions independently or that they derived 
from some other source. There are however certain 
passages in the discourses which can be explained away 
in no such fashion. One of the two quotations avowedly 
taken from Junius occurs in the seventh discourse. It i? 
a sentence of Tertullian's. In the next paragraph Sir 
Joshua illustrates a remark of his by an excerpt from 
Cicero's Pro Archia Poeta, Now it so happens that this 
immediately precedes that from Tertullian in Junius. It 
does not seem too bold then to assert that Reynolds copied 
the two passages from the same place at the same time.^ 
The other passage, admittedly borrowed from The Paint- 
ing of the Ancients^ is to be found in the third discourse, 
where Proclus is quoted "as cited by Junius de Pictura 
Veterum". Some pages later in the same lecture there 
is a lengthy extract from Quintilian that is also to be 
found in Junius, who was almost certainly Sir Joshua's 
source.^ The final lecture provides us with another 
example of the same sort. The author is commenting on 
the causes of the decline of painting since the days of 

The words of Petronius are very remarkable. After opposing 
the natural chaste beauty of the eloquence of former ages to the 
strained inflated style then in fashion, * neither,' says he, 'has the 
art of Painting had a better fate, after the boldness of the 
Egyptians had found out a compendious way to execute so great 
an art.' 

By compendious^ I understand him to mean a mode of Painting, 
such as has infected the style of the later Painters of Italy and 
France; common-place, without thought, and with as little 
trouble, working as by a receipt. 3 

^ Works ^ i, 223 et seq. Cf. Painting of the Ancients, 44. If it were 
not for Sir Joshua's acknowledgment, we could not prove that his 
source here was Junius. The passages from Tertullian and Cicero are 
juxtaposed in de Piles's first note to Dufresnoy's Art of Painting 
(Dryden's translation), London, 17 16, 81. 

^ Works, i, 54, 66. Cf. Painting of the Ancients ^ 287. 

3 Works, ii, 214. 


On page 209 of The Fainting of the Ancients the passage 
from Petronius is followed by a discussion of just what 
was meant by *'compendiousnesse". 

Still another illustration of this sort is found in the 
second discourse, where the following paragraph ap- 
pears : 

Though a man cannot at all times, and in all places, paint or 
draw, yet the mind can prepare itself by laying in proper materials, 
at all times, and in all places. Both Livy and Plutarch, in de- 
scribing Philopoemen, one of the ablest generals of antiquity, have 
given us a striking picture of a mind always intent on its profession, 
and by assiduity obtaining those excellencies which some all their 
lives vainly expect from nature. I shall quote the passage in Livy 
at length, as it runs parallel with the practice I would recommend 
to the Painter, Sculptor, and Architect.^ 

A competent translator and editor of the discourses, 
M. Louis Dimier, denies that the passage which follows 
can be found in Livy. ^ In this he was mistaken. He would 
have been quite right however had he asserted that 
Reynolds did not find it in Livy. Like the others which 
have already been noted, the passage is printed in full 
by Junius. After noticing this myself, I discovered that 
I had been anticipated by Charles S. Peete, who also 
pointed out what had escaped me — the verbal parallel 
between the first sentence in the paragraph above and 
this from Junius which follows the quotation from Livy : 

although we cannot at all times and in all places draw and paint, 
our mind for all that can prepare it selfe alwayes and every where.3 

This proves beyond question that when composing the 
second discourse the author had his Junius beside him. 
Hence it may be worth while to include one more passage 

^ Works, i, 44 et seq. 

^ Discours sur la Peinture, etc., ed. Louis Dimier, Paris, 1909, 44. 
M. Dimier suggests, in his introduction (p. 11), erroneously as is here 
shown, that Sir Joshua might have become acquainted with this passage 
through Johnson or Burke. 

3 Peete, op. cit. 144; Junius, op. cit. 26. 


to illustrate in a different way Sir Joshua's debt to his 
predecessor. A few pages before he quotes Livy Rey- 
nolds is warning the student against slavish copying of 
old masters : 

Instead of treacling in their footsteps, endeavour only to keep 
the same road. Labour to invent on their general principles and 
way of thinking. Possess yourself with their spirit. Consider 
with yourself how a Michael Angelo or a Raffaelle would have 
treated this subject: and work yourself into a belief that your 
picture is to be seen and criticised by them when completed. 

With this advice compare that given by Junius, who 
suggests that the painter associate 

himselfe with Jpelles, ProtogeneSy Polycletus^ Phidias \ not only 
considering with himselfe, what these noble soules if they were 
present, should do or else advise him to doe in the workes he 
taketh in hand; but propounding also unto himselfe, how they 
should censure his worke brought to an end.^ 

Such is the evidence to prove that Sir Joshua found 
The Painting of the Ancients a most useful collection of 
anecdotes and sayings. Supported by the opinions of 
others, he acquired the confidence which he needed 
before publicly expressing his ideas on the fine arts. 

^ Works, i, 35; Junius, op. cit. 251. 


"To put those ideas into something like order was, to my 
inexperience, no easy task." Fifteenth Discourse. 

What fame Sir Joshua has acquired as man of letters 
rests entirely upon his Discourses, Reprinted more than 
fifty times since his death, they have not been unappre- 
ciated, and in such a study as this they should naturally 
receive the principal stress. Why they were written has 
already been explained. Being president of the Academy, 
he considered himself as ''involuntarily pressed into this 
service".^ How they were written — a subject which has 
hitherto received scant notice — is to be treated in the 
following pages. 

As might be expected. Sir Joshua when discussing 
his literary efforts was consistently modest. '' I am truly 
sensible how unequal I have been to the expression of my 
own ideas. To develope the latent excellencies, and draw 
out the interior principles, of our art, requires more skill 
and practice in writing, than is likely to be possessed by 
a man perpetually occupied in the use of the pencil and 
the pallet." He nevertheless argues in his own defence 
that however badly he has phrased his ideas, he has the 
advantage of practical experience in painting upon which 
to base his remarks. Nor had he approached his work 
without thought : 

I had seen much, and I had thought much upon what I had 
seen J I had something of an habit of investigation, and a dis- 

^ Works, ii, 185. Cf. ante, p. 39- 


position to reduce all that I observed and felt in my own mind, 
to method and system; but never having seen what I myself 
knew, distinctly placed before me on paper, I knew nothing 
correctly. To put those ideas into something like order was, to 
my inexperience, no easy task. The composition, the ponere totum 
even of a single Discourse, as well as of a single statue, was the 
most difficult part, as perhaps it is of every other art, and most 
requires the hand of a master.^ 

Never did he write a remark more truthful. From the 
manuscripts which have survived it is possible to follow 
him step by step as he struggled to reduce his theories, 
his observations, his practical suggestions into their 
present form. The attempt to make chaos cosmic was for 
him a very real difficulty, and an examination of his early 
drafts more than anything else will reveal the workings 
of his mind. 

Naturally enough, before putting pen to paper he 
fortified himself by reading whatever he could lay his 
hands upon concerning theories of art. '*I thought it 
indispensably necessary well to consider the opinions 
which were to be given out from this place, and under 
the sanction of a Royal-Academy; I therefore examined 
not only my own opinions, but likewise the opinions of 
others."^ This has been interpreted to mean that he 
discussed his ideas with fellow-Academicians and critics 
of art with whom he was acquainted.3 That he should 
do so is not surprising, but surely he is here referring 
more particularly to the books he had read — Richard- 
son's Theory of Paintings Dufresnoy's De Arte Graphica, 
and similar treatises which have been mentioned in the 
foregoing chapter. 

As he read he took notes, occasionally copying out 

^ Works, ii, 185, 187. The phrase from Horace's Art of Poetry 
Sir Joshua could have found in Dryden's translation of Dufresnoy, 
London, 17 16, 138, 

^ Works, u, 188. 

3 E. N. S. Thompson, Pub. Mod. Lang. Assoc, xxxii, 360. 


passages which he thought of using at a later time. In 
the twelfth discourse, for example, he writes : 

Sir Francis Bacon speaks with approbation of the provisionary 
methods Demosthenes and Cicero employed to assist their in- 
vention: and illustrates their use by a quaint comparison after his 
manner. These particular Studios being not immediately connected 
with our art, I need not cite the passage I allude to, and shall 
only observe that such preparation totally opposes the general 
received opinions that are floating in the world, concerning genius 
and inspiration.^ 

Although he did not quote these particular Studios^ he 
had copied them out, with the original intention, it would 
seem, of inserting them in his lecture. Other examples 
of the same sort have already been noted in an earlier 

Another instance of his use of Bacon in the same dis- 
course, to which reference has already been made, is 
revealed in the following passage. What Reynolds has 
written is merely a paraphrase of several sentences he had 
copied from one of Bacon's essays : 

By leaving a student to himself, he may possibly indeed be led 
to undertake matters above his strength: but the trial will at 
least have this advantage, it will discover to himself his own 
deficiencies; and this discovery alone, is a very considerable 
acquisition. One inconvenience, I acknowledge, may attend bold 
and arduous attempts; frequent failure may discourage. This evil, 
however, is not more pernicious than the slow proficiency which 
is the natural consequence of too easy tasks.^ 

Such notes as he made on his reading he was in the 
habit of filing with many more or less fragmentary bits 
of writing, some of which were cancelled passages from 
previous discourses. These he placed in folders which he 
labelled ''Analogy", ''Method of Study", "Self", 
"Colouring", "Discourses not used", "Michael An- 

^ Works, ii, 87. Cf. ante, p. 109; post. Appendix I, p. 214. 
^ Works J ii, 76; cf. post. Appendix I, p. 214. 


gelo", ''The Advantage of Early Habits", and similar 
categories. Presumably, when planning to write any 
given discourse, the author turned to these folders of his, 
and picked out from them whatever related to the subject 
on which he was to speak. In this way he would be 
doing what he recommended painters to do when arrang- 
ing figures in a picture. At such a time he advised 
** every Artist to look over his port-folio, or pocket-book, 
in which he has treasured up all the happy inventions, 
all the extraordinary and expressive attitudes that he has 
met with in the course of his studies".^ 

As the loth of December drew near, the day when the 
lecture was to be read, he would stay up until an early 
hour in the morning, pacing up and down, taking a 
considerable quantity of snuff, dashing his thoughts upon 
paper, crossing out what he had written, writing the same 
idea in two or three different forms. When Northcote 
lived at Leicester Fields, he used to hear his master at 
such a time ''walking at intervals in his room as if in 
meditation, till one or two o'clock in the morning".^ 
As Sir Joshua said, to put his ideas into something like 
order was to his inexperience no easy task. He once told 
a friend "that he never painted a picture, or part of a 
picture, well till he had done it several times ".3 The 
remark applies as well to his writing. What he published 
is in general highly polished ; it was written and rewritten 
many times before it met with the author's approval. 

A page has survived which illustrates how he com- 
menced a lecture; 4 he has near him some random notes 
on the backs of envelopes, on loose sheets of paper, and 
in commonplace books. He has in mind the general 
topic on which he is to speak, but has as yet no settled 
notion of how to approach his subject. It is clear enough 

^ Works, ii, 86. ^ j^orthcote, ii, 315. 

3 P. W. Clayden's Early Life of Samuel Rogers, Boston, 1888, 272. 

4 Cf post. Appendix II, p. 219 (IV, i). 



that this page was originally designed for the fourth 
discourse, which continues the treatment of the Grand 
Style that was begun in the third. One need but turn 
to the beginning of the fourth discourse as printed to 
discover that this fragment was totally discarded. The 
very sentiments have been altered. Sir Joshua, like many 
another, wrote much more than he published. 

That I have had the temerity to bring some of these 
discards to light is a matter open undoubtedly to criti- 
cism. *'Life is surely given us for higher purposes'*, 
thunders the Rambler, ' ' than to gather what our ancestors 
have wisely thrown away, and to learn what is of no value 
but because it has been forgotten." ^ And yet the author 
of the Discourses y if consistent, could hardly object to my 
design. Speakingof painters, he once wrote: ** It appears 
to me therefore, that our first thoughts, that is, the effect 
which any thing produces on our minds, on its first 
appearance, is never to be forgotten ; and it demands for 
that reason, because it is the first, to be laid up with care."^ 
Applying this to his writings, it might be said that if there 
be any value in the Discourses and if there be any interest 
in tracing the workings of the author's mind, his first 
thoughts are worth preserving. And the Rambler him- 
self can be quoted as approving such a plan. **To those 
who have skill to estimate the excellence and difficulty 
of this great work", he wrote of Pope's I/iad, ** it must be 
very desirable to know how it was performed, and by 
what gradations it advanced to correctness." 3 Pope, to 
be sure, is recognized as one of the great men of letters 
England has produced; yet more people to-day read the 
Discourses than Pope's translations of Homer. 

The fragments reprinted in Appendix II suggest that 
Sir Joshua normally began by writing of what he himself 
had experienced, but by the time he had prepared his 

^ Ram6/er, no. 121. ^ fForhyii,!!^. 

3 Liv^s of the English Poets^ ed. Hill, Oxford, 1905, iii, 119. 


manuscript for the public, the personal or specific had 
given way to a generalization of this. He began with the 
particular and ended with an abstraction. In what is 
perhaps the most personal of his lectures, the fourteenth, 
which is devoted to an estimation of the powers of Gains- 
borough, the relations of the two men are mentioned in 
a way that is most disappointing to posterity. "Without 
entering into a detail of what passed at this last interview 
introduces his comments. Had a Boswell reported the 
dialogue between the dying Gainsborough and his 
successful rival, succeeding generations would have read 
the record with delight. But to Sir Joshua the introduc- 
tion of himself was bad taste, and petty details were never 
as significant as the moral which was to be derived there- 
from. The extracts printed by Cotton prove that much 
of the early draft was suppressed, apparently because it 
related too much to the speaker : 

I have seen copies after Vandyck and Teniers, which it would 
be very difficult for the most accurate connoisseur to distinguish 
from originals. I remember on my declaring that I had looked 
at a copy by Gainsborough, after a portrait of Vandyck, a great 
while before I could determine whether it was a copy or an 
original — a man of wit politely said — ''Tou may venture to say 
so much, but the generality of connoisseurs could not afford it;' 
observing that 'they would think it a great disgrace to be in the 
least doubt.'^ 

Another suppressed passage may have derived from con- 
versation at the Club : 

I wish not to appear like a panegyrist, nor to have stinted him 
in his lawful claims to our admiration. I hope to apply to those 
who think I might on this occasion have overlooked his de- 
ficiencies what was said of a professed and enthusiastic admirer of 
Shakespeare. A more sober and judicious critic observed 'he was 
certain he did not feel that superior excellence, from his indis- 
criminate admiration of his defects, as well as of his beauties.'- 

^ Cotton's Gleanings, 224. Cf. Whitley y i, 264. 
^ Cotton's Gleanings, 226. 


Unlike Boswell, he shrank from referring to himself in 
public, and sincerely believing that **the general idea 
constitutes real excellence"/ he usually reduced what he 
had to say to a generalization. 

Let us assume that after several sleepless nights he 
has the manuscript in some semblance of order. It is 
then that he desires aid from a friend. Much has been 
written to the effect that Sir Joshua was not the author 
of his Discourses, that they were actually written by Dr 
Johnson or Edmund Burke. The passages printed in 
Appendix II prove conclusively that these statements are 
as erroneous as they are unfair. The truth seems to have 
been what might have been suspected — that these men 
acted as critics and helped Sir Joshua to deliver lectures 
which were more polished than they otherwise would 
have been. Nor does this prove him an inferior writer. 
We know that he himself acted as critic for Burke's 
Reflections on the Revolution in France, Sheridan's School 
for Scandal, Beattie's Essay on Beauty, Crabbe's Village, 
Astle's Origin and Progress of Writing (in part), and 
Gilpin's Essay on Picturesque Beauty, to name a few works 
for which we have definite proof. It is only natural that 
he should seek the same sort of aid in his own writings, 
and it is not surprising that the man on whom he chiefly 
relied should have been the friend for whom he hrd the 
greatest respect as writer and thinker. 

That Johnson helped him has long been known. 
James Northcote, who as pupil lived in Sir Joshua's 
house from 1771 to 1776, mentions having seen the 
manuscript of a discourse ''after it had been revised 
by Dr. Johnson, who has sometimes altered it to a wrong 
meaning, from his total ignorance of the subject and 
of art ".^ This statement and a remark by Malone that 
he thought it probable Sir Joshua submitted his manu- 
script to Johnson have until recently been the most 
^ Works, i, 82 ^/ seq. ^ Northcote, ii, 315; r/1 Works, i, xliv 


T ■ 

'^ €. J^^^wyi-^-^wCtJ^. 

Part of the Eleventh Discourse in Sir Joshua Reynolds's handwriting, 
with corrections by Samuel Johnson 


definite ones we have had on the subject. In 1920 the 
text of one of the only two letters extant from Reynolds 
to Johnson was given in a catalogue issued by Sotheby 
and Co.^ This letter, requesting literary criticism, is 
dated 17 December and therefore could not refer to 
revisions made before delivering one of the lectures, 
but is an additional proof that Johnson acted as Sir 
Joshua's literary adviser. Another bit of evidence has 
heretofore been unnoticed. In the Reynolds MSS. in 
the Royal Academy there is a portion of the eleventh 
discourse, which was read at the Academy just two years 
before Johnson's death. In the seventeen lines there are 
five corrections, and of these at least two are in the hand 
that wrote Rasselas, Sir Joshua had written of Titian's 
skill in colouring and chiaroscuro and his neglect of 
petty detail : 

His great care was to express the general colour, to preserve 
the masses of light and shade, and to give by opposition the idea 
of that solidity which is inseparable from natural objects. When 
those are preserved, though with nothing more, the work will 
have in a proper place its compleat effect; but where any of these 
are wanting, however minutely laboured the picture may be in 
the detail, the whole will have a false and even an unfinished 
appearance, at whatever distance, or in whatever light, it is 

For the two concluding words of the paragraph Johnson 
substituted in his small hand ''can be shewn". The 
correction, crossed out, was rewritten in Sir Joshua's 
hand. It may have been Johnson who deleted the "in" 
in the sentence that followed, an obvious improvement. It 
was certainly Johnson who rewrote the opening sentence 
in the next paragraph. Once more Sir Joshua crossed 
out Johnson's substitutions and rewrote them in his own 

^ Letters, 57. Cf. ante, p. 46. 

^ Works, ii, 50, altered to conform to the passage as first printed. 
The manuscript (see illustration) is printed below in Appendix II, p. 233 
(XI, I). 


hand. Was this to make the scribe less likely to spread 
the report that the painter was not the author of his 
lecture, or was it merely his way of indicating that he 
approved the amendment ? 

In any case the page is highly instructive, indicating 
what share Johnson had in Sir Joshua's literary ventures. 
As has long been pointed out, he knew little about the 
fine arts and cared less. What he could and did do was to 
make the discourses more resounding, more melodious. 
Although no other page containing his corrections has 
come to light, many other phrases that pass for Sir 
Joshua's were doubtless polished by his friend. Such 
a phrase, for instance, as his receipt for genius (''as- 
siduity unabated by difficulty, and a disposition eagerly 
directed to the object of its pursuit")^ sounds suspi- 
ciously Johnsonian. But the pupil seems to have been 
unimpressed with the exaggerated type of Johnsonese : 

To speak of genius and taste, as in any way connected with 
reason or common sense, would be, in the opinion of some 
towering talkers, to speak like a man who possessed neither; who 
had never felt that enthusiasm, or, to use their own inflated 
language, was never warmed by that Promethean fire, which 
animates the canvas and vivifies the marble.^ 

The majority of the Johnsonian phrases employed by 
Reynolds are found in the earlier discourses, and George 
Steevens, who read proof on at least one occasion, was 
probably not far from the truth when he told Farington 
that "Sir Joshua was entirely the author of all his latter 
discourses, but. . .might have [had] some assistance in 
His former ones, as they were more correct than would 
be expected from one not accustomed to composition ".3 
Such a statement should not be interpreted as meaning 
that Reynolds was not the author of his "Works''; it 
suggests what has already been said, that he submitted 

' PForkSy i, 44. ^ Id. i, 193. ^ Farington 's Diary , i, 207. 


his writings to Johnson for criticism. When Johnson 
died, Langton remarked to Sir John Hawkins: ''We 
shall now know whether he has or has not assisted Sir 
Joshua in his 'Discourses'." But Johnson had assured 
Hawkins that "his assistance had never exceeded the 
substitution of a word or two", in preference to what 
Sir Joshua had written.^ 

The remarks of Northcote and Steevens and Langton 
illustrate how widespread such sentiments were. An- 
other whose thoughts on the subject were recorded was 
Horace Walpole. Early in 1785, after reading the 
twelfth discourse, he wrote in his unpublished "Book 
of Materials": 

S'' Joshua Reynolds's Last Discourse to the Royal Academy- 
was observed to be much more incorrect in the style than any 
of his former & was therefore supposed to have wanted the assis- 
tance of his friend Dr Johnson, vv^ho was dying when it was 
composed. If Dr Johnson aided S'" Joshua in his Discourses, 
he was kinder to them than to his own compositions, for they 
are elegant, & have none of Johnson's awkward pedantic ver- 
bosity & want of grace. I have rather thought that^ Mr Burke, 
a far more polished Writer than Johnson assisted S'' Joshua — if 
he was assisted. 3 

Walpole*s final observation introduces the other name 
most frequently mentioned in this connection. Indeed 
positive assertions have been made that Burke was the 
sole writer of the Discourses, According to the author 
of a biographical notice of Burke which appeared in 
Walker's Hibernian Magazine for 18 10: "Every one of 
those addresses, which have so much delighted the artists 
of Europe, was written by Mr. Burke." The article is 
clearly based on a memoir of Burke which had been 

^ La?titia Matilda Hawkins in F. H. Skrine's Gossip About Dr 
Johnson and Others , London, 1926, 72. 

^ MS. than. 

3 From a photostat (Book of 1 77 1, f. 112) in the possession of Wilmarth 
S. Lewis, Esq. The original is in the Folger Library, Washington. 


published in 1797 and which is filled with an amazing 
amount of misinformation : 

Sir Joshua's literary fame owed not only its support but its 
very existence to Mr. Burke. It was fortunate for the latter that 
Sir Joshua's ambition was not confined to the attainment of 
excellence in his own art, for which nature had eminently quali- 
fied him, but aspired to the higher sphere of eloquence, though 
he could rise to it only by borrowed wings. After reading the 
Essay on the Sublime and Beautiful, he eagerly sought out the 
author and endeavoured to secure his friendship. . . . Frequent 
intercourse left no doubt in Sir Joshua's mind, that the man who 
had written so well on the principles of the elegant arts in general, 
was best qualified to display the utmost refinement of taste, and 
brilliancy of genius in dissertations on painting in particular. The 
unbounded admiration, with which Sir Joshua's discourses were 
afterwards heard, and are still read by the whole world, shews 
how judicious and happy he was in his choice of an assistant. It 
has hitherto been kept a secret not only from the public, but from 
the private friends of both, that those discourses were the pro- 
duction of Mr. Burke's pen. This truth we shall fully illustrate.^ 

His * * illustration ' *, a series of undocumented statements, 
follows ; 

As the Academy was to be opened on the second of January 
1769 with an address from the president, Mr. Burke prepared 
for the task with all the enthusiastic ardor which friendship, 
gratitude, and a noble consciousness of his equality to the attempt, 
could inspire. ... It is not easy to resist the temptation of making 
. . .extracts from this wonderful performance, and from the 
other discourses, prepared by the same writer, executed in the 
same stile, and delivered by the president at the annual distribu- 
tion of the prizes during his continuance in the chair.. . .Sir 
Joshua first made out a sketch of the subject, and furnished such 
hints as chiefly related to painting and sculpture. These Mr. 
Burke took for his text; but did not restrain the effusions of his 
own genius upon any topic arising out of, or naturally connected 
with them. A copy was then sent to sir Joshua, who, at his leisure, 
superadded any new ideas that occurred to him and returned the 
performance interlined with those farther suggestions. ... It must 

^ Charles M'Cormick's Memoirs of...Burke^ London, 1797, 28 
et seq. 


be observed, that sir Joshua himself was very w^iHing to encourage 
the idea of his being under an obligation of that sort to Dr. 
Johnson,^ with a view, no doubt, of diverting conjecture from 
his real assistant. . . . He died on the twenty-third of February 
1792,. . .not forgetting to give Mr. Burke a strong proof of his 
liberal and sincere regard. He cancelled a bond for two thousand 
pounds which he had lent to Mr. Burke, and added to that favor 
a bequest of two thousand pounds more. ... A man so ambitious 
of literary fame as the president, and in a state of so much 
affluence, could hardly deem any purchase or any return too high 
for the gratification of his fondest wishes.^ 

He ridicules Malone, who had just brought out the first 
edition of Sir Joshua's PForks^ for not having distin- 
guished Burke's hand in the manuscripts Sir Joshua had 
left, and ends by saying: 

After this statement of facts, it is unnecessary to refute in 
detail, some insinuations which have been lately thrown out of 
Dr. Johnson's having assisted in writing the Academical Dis- 
courses. . . .We have shewn who the real author was.3 

Malone's reply was a note that first appeared in the 
second edition of Sir Joshua's Works : 

Among many other statements concerning the late Mr. Burke, 
which I know to be erroneous, we have been confidently told that 
[the Discourses] were written by that gentleman. 

The readers of poetry are not to learn, that a similar tale has 
been told of some of our celebrated English poets. According 
to some, Denham did not write his admired Cooper s HUl\ and 
with a certain species of criticks, our great moral poet tells us, 

" — most authors steal their works, or buy; 
''Garth did not write his own Dispensary. 

Such insinuations, however agreeable to the envious and malig- 
nant, who may give them a temporary currency, can ha\e but 
little weight with the judicious and ingenuous part of mankind, 
and therefore in general merit only silent contempt. But that 
Mr. Burke was the author of all such parts of these Discourses 

^ That Sir Joshua was unwilling to encourage such an idea has been 
shown in the introduction {ante, pp. xviii et seq.). 

^ Id. pp. 91 et seq. -^ Li. p. 100. 


as do not relate to painting and sculpture^ (what these are, the 
discoverer of this pretended secret has not informed us,) has 
lately been so peremptorily asserted, and so particular an appeal 
has been made on this occasion to their editor, that I think it my 
duty to refute this injurious calumny, lest posterity should be 
deceived and misled by the minuteness of uncontradicted misrepre- 
sentation, delivered to the world with all the confidence of truth. 

He then definitely asserts that he never saw any of the 
Discourses in Burke's handwriting, and that **the whole 
body of these admirable works was composed by Sir 
Joshua Reynolds*'. He continues: 

I do not mean to assert, that he did not avail himself of the 
judgment of his critical friends, to render them as perfect as he 
could; or that he was above receiving from them that species of 
literary assistance which every candid literary man is willing to 
receive, and which even that transcendent genius, Mr. Burke, 
in some instances did not disdain to accept. ... I have no doubt 
that some were submitted to Dr. Johnson, and some to Mr. Burke, 
for their examination and revision; and probably each of those 
persons suggested to their author some minute verbal improve- 

These are the words of the man who more than any other 
then alive was qualified to pronounce upon Sir Joshua's 
literary practices. There is no difficulty in choosing 
between the unsupported statements of a deservedly for- 
gotten biographer of Burke and the refutation by the 
trained scholar, who at the same time was the close 
friend of Burke and Reynolds. But Malone is not con- 
tent with a mere contradiction. To supplement his 
assertion he included in his revised memoir a portion of 
a letter which Burke wrote to him upon reading the first 
edition of Sir Joshua's Works, No one who had composed 
the 'Discourses himself could have written the letter which 
Burke sent to Malone.^ 

The help that Burke gave Sir Joshua was certainly 
no more extensive than that supplied by Johnson. North- 
cote admitted he had seen Johnson's corrections, but 

^ Works, i, xlii et seq. ^ Works, i, xxxii et seq. 


maintained he had never found ''the marks of Burke's 
pen on any of the manuscripts".^ Once late in 1774, 
while the pupil was at work in the adjoining room, he 
overheard Sir Joshua reading a paragraph from his sixth 
discourse, which was about to be delivered. And he 
heard Burke comment: "This is, indeed, excellent, 
nobody can mend it, no man could say it better."^ To 
this extent Burke aided his friend. His hand appears 
on none of the many pages among the Reynolds manu- 
scripts in the Royal Academy. 

After the discourse had met with the approval of some 
*' critical friend", it was given to an amanuensis, who 
made a fair copy of it which could be read at the Academy. 
I have already suggested that in the case of the inaugural 
address the scribe was his pupil Charles Gill. Another 
who filled this position was the ever-willing James 
Northcote. "I have had the rude manuscript from him- 
self in his own hand writing, in order to make a fair copy 
from it for him, to read it in public", he wrote in 1 8 1 3.^ 
It is now possible to verify this. Northcote resided with 
Sir Joshua from 1771 until the spring of 1776, during 
which period the fourth, fifth, and sixth discourses were 
written . On 1 9 December, 1 7 7 1 , he wrote to his brother : 
"So bad as my hand writing was always thought, Sirjoshua 
liked it very well, and I writ out his discourse which he 
read from, at the Royal Acadamy."^ A year later 
(30 December, 1772) he wrote : " I can only tell you such 
trifles as that I writ out sir Joshua's discourse and he left 
it till the last day that he was to speak it in the evening 
so that if Gill had not assisted me it could not have been 
done soon enough." The fourth discourse, then, was 

^ Northcote, ii, 3 1 5 ; in later life the biographer decided that Burke 
might have helped Sir Joshua (Hazlitt's Conversations oj James North- 
cote, London, 1830, 84). 

^ Northcote, u, Tfi6. 3 Northcote, \\, t,i^. 

4 This and the following extract are from the original letters in the 
Royal Academy. First published in Whitley, ii, 285, 293. 


copied by Northcote alone, and the fifth by two pupils 
jointly. Presumably Northcote gave his services as well 
for the sixth, and later discourses were probably copied 
by his successors. The scribe for the final one was his 
niece, Mary Palmer, who may have acted in this capacity 
for some of the other later discourses. Writing to her 
cousin, William Johnson, at the end of 1 7 8 9, she refers to 
Sir Joshua's loss of one eye and his care of the other: 
''the dread of what may happen if he uses it a great 
deal intirely deters him from either painting, writing, or 
reading, for these last four months I have spent all my 
time in reading to him, & writing all that he wants to 
have done." Three months later she informs her corre- 
spondent that ''his Eye is strong enough to write a little 

After the discourse had been delivered, but before it 
was sent to the printer, it underwent further revision, 
and at this stage also Sir Joshua seems to have called 
upon his critical friends. The one instance of this sort 
about which we have definite information is the help 
given to him by Edmond Malone. Recent discoveries 
have proved this gentleman to have been even more 
generous with his literary assistance than had been sup- 
posed. We now know that he not only spent hours with 
Boswell moulding the Life of Johnson^ but had a con- 
siderable share in giving form to its precursor, the 
Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides? He was equally 
friendly with Reynolds. To prove that Sir Joshua was 
sole author of the writings which appeared under his 
name, Malone wrote: 

Four of the latter Discourses, in his own handwriting, and 
warm from the brain, the author did me the honour to submit 
to my perusal; and with great freedom I suggested to him some 
verbal alterations, and some new arrangements, in each of them, 
which he very readily adopted. Of one I well remember he gave 

^ Cf. post, p. 173 n. 2. ^ Boswell Papers, vi, passim. 


me the general outline in conversation, as we returned together 
from an excursion to the country, and before it was yet committed 
to paper. He soon afterwards composed that Discourse con- 
formably to the plan which he had crayoned out, and sent it to 
me for such remarks on the language of it as should occur to me. 
When he wrote his last Discourse, I was not in London; and that 
Discourse, I know, was submitted to the critical examination of 
another friend; and that friend was not Mr. Burke. ^ 

One of the four which Malone criticised was the thir- 
teenth, as is proved by the letter Reynolds wrote to him 
15 December, 1786. Another letter to Malone, once in 
the possession of Boswell, closes with this sentence: 
*' I have sent by your servant my Discourse which I shall 
take as a great favour if you not only will examine 
critically but will likewise add a little elegance."^ 

When the imprimatur was finally obtained, the manu- 
script was sent to the official printer to the Academy, 
a position occupied successively by William Bunce, 
William Griffin, Tom Davies, and Thomas Cadell. 
Apparently at this stage the author once more turned 
to his friends for help. At least on one occasion George 
Steevens read proof, and in doing so examined the manu- 
script, which was written so correctly that he found but 
few words which required transposing. 3 

The printing was generally begun before the end of 
the year, but not completed until the beginning of the 
new year. Two of the discourses, the second and the 
thirteenth, bear on the title-page the same year as that 
in which they were delivered, but neither of these was 
issued in that year. The Academy did not vote the print- 
ing of the second until January, and Sir Joshua was 
unable to send the thirteenth to Hendrik Jansen until 
10 January, apologizing for the delay, which was "on 
account of the Christmas holydays when the Printers 
men will not work ".4 The fourteenth was not published 

^ fVorks/i, x^iv. ~ Letters, 170, 185. 

3 Farington's Diary, i, 207. '^ Letters, iji. 


until June and the fifteenth seems to have been delayed 
until early in March, but in general they were brought 
out in January, about a month following the reading of 
the lecture. 

It is safe to assume that the sale of the discourses was 
almost negligible. Most people who would be interested 
in them, either for subject-matter or for their authorship, 
received copies from Sir Joshua himself. His letters are 
full of the names of people to whom he sent them, his 
fellow-members of the Club, many of the nobility who 
had sat to him, members of the Academy, prominent 
politicians, and the large at my of blue-stockings. Many 
copies were sent to India, to Sir William Jones, Sir 
Robert Chambers, Lord Cornwallis, and the like.^ 
Many were sent to friends in Ireland. Benjamin West's 
copies, once owned by Charles Eliot Norton, are in the 
Harvard College Library, while a complete set of those 
presented to the first secretary of the Academy, Francis 
Newton, are in the British Museum. In Appendix IV, 
when giving a bibliographical description of each dis- 
course, I have named all the recipients of whom I have 
any record. Printed in pamphlet form, the majority of 
copies have perished, but enough have survived to make 
it clear that they were published primarily to be given 
away by the author. Generally speaking, when a copy 
turns up which does not seem to have been autographed 
by Sir Joshua, it lacks the half-title on which the inscrip- 
tion usually appeared. That it was not easy for people to 
secure them for the asking is the inference to be drawn 
from a sentence written by Samuel Johnson, Sir Joshua's 
nephew, to his sister: **I did not forget Mama's com- 
mission about my Uncle's discourses the first time, but 
find it is impossible to get them except from the Book- 

^ "My Uncle sends a Discourse to Governor Hastings and My Aunt 
[Frances] has procur'd it to be sent to Bill [William Johnson], who is 
to carry it himself to the Governor." Sir Joshua s Nephew , 35. 


seller."^ This was in 1775. More than ten years later, 
when Sir Joshua was revising them, he found great 
difficulty in making up a complete set. The earlier ones 
were long out of print. 

As the early ones appeared they received flattering 
notices in the periodicals. In one the reviewer remarks 
that these writings in themselves justify the existence of 
the then newly formed Academy. Later still he pro- 
phesies that they may become **the best work upon the 
practice and theory of painting that has yet appeared in 
the world ".^ Congratulations poured into the studio in 
Leicester Fields. Poems, or rather verses, were penned 
in Sir Joshua's honour, praising him for being a writer 
as well as a painter. It was the fashion to read the pre- 
sident's latest address. Young Samuel Johnson, already 
referred to, complains that he has ' ' not had the least time 
to read, not even Uncle's Discourse, which every Body 
has read ".3 Old Samuel Johnson, whom we have seen 
helping the author write them, showed his admiration 
for them in a characteristic way. "He observed one day 
of a passage in them, ' I think I might as well have said 
this myself:' and once when Mr. Langton was sitting 
by him, he read one of them very eagerly, and expressed 
himself thus: 'Very well, Master Reynolds; very well, 
indeed. But it will not be understood '."^ Hannah 
More's comment is typical of the attitude of the blue- 
stockings. Of the sixth discourse she wrote: **in my 
poor judgment it is a masterpiece for matter as well as 
style, and that we have scarcely a finer writer." 5 The 
Bishop of London calls the final discourse ''the work of 
a Great Master J whose name will be as much and as justly 
revered by this country, as that of Michael Angelo is 
by his".^ Success had crowned his efi^orts. 

' Id. 86. 

^ Gent. Mag., xli, 323 (July, 1771); xlii, 184 (April, 1772). 
3 Sir Joshua s Nephezv, 44. ^ Boswell's Life, iv, 320. 

5 W. Roberts's Memoirs of the Life and Correspondence of Mrs Hannah 
More, London, 1834, i, 58. ^ Cotton's Notes, 70. 


'*Mr Boswell has just sent me his 'Johnsoniana', which is 
one of the most entertaining books I ever read." 
Sir Joshua to the Duke of Rutland, 26 September, 1785. 

When the writings of Sir Joshua were finally collected 
and published in 1797, there were none which revealed 
his friendship for Samuel Johnson. Sir Joshua was to be 
judged as an author by what he had written of the fine 
arts. Malone, his literary executor, saw fit to omit from 
his edition the^^^ d' esprit in dialogue form, Johnson and 
Garrick^ and the character sketch of Dr Johnson. Neither 
had been written for publication, but in each is preserved 
much information about his circle that would otherwise 
have perished. 

For some years before and after Johnson's death one 
of the more popular forms of entertainment among his 
friends was imitating him. Langton and Boswell were 
most addicted to this, but many others tried their hands 
at it. Mrs Thrale and Fanny Burney, Fanny Reynolds 
and Hannah More were among those who wrote down 
what he said. Sir Joshua, being an artist, went further 
than this. What he has done in Johnson and Garrick is 
to '* collect, as if into two conversations, what had been 
uttered at many^ and heighten the effect by the juxta- 
position of such discordant opinions ".^ The result 
unquestionably is the most delightful bit of writing we 
have from his pen. 

' Croker, as quoted by Hill in Johnsonian Miscellanies, ii, 232. 


When the dialogues were written is unknown. Until 
very recently all that was known of them before their 
publication in 1 8 1 6 was that Sir Joshua presented a 
manuscript copy of them to Sir George Beaumont/ We 
now know as well that on the evening of 9 September, 
1790, the dialogues were read by the author to Boswell, 
Dr French Laurence, and Malone.^ Had they been 
written much earlier than this, one would have expected 
Boswell to have ferreted them out sooner. Since Sir 
Joshua did not cease painting until the middle of 1789, 
and since the only known manuscript of the dialogues is 
in the hand of Mary Palmer, who served as her uncle's 
amanuensis from that time until his death, they must have 
been composed late in 1789 or, more probably, in 1790. 
Presumably they were based on notes taken between 
1 779 and 1 78 1, since in the dialogues Thrale is supposed 
to be living and Garrick to be dead. 

At the time Sir Joshua was reading his composition 
to his friends, Boswell with Malone's assistance was 
putting the finishing touches to the Life of Johnson. 
It may have been after this reading, then, that he included 
the sentence : ' ' Sir Joshua Reynolds observed, with great 
truth, that Johnson considered Garrick to be as it were 
h\s property. He would allow no man either to blame or 
to praise Garrick in his presence, without contradicting 
him.*' 3 There is another passage in the Life which almost 
certainly derives from this source. That it was inserted 
as a footnote indicates that it was added after the original 
page was ready for press. In the text Johnson had been 
quoted as saying of Garrick: **I remember drinking tea 
with him long ago, when Peg Woffington made it, and 
he grumbled at her for making it too strong. ' ' In the note 
to this Boswell employs a phrase which is found in the 
dialogues: "When Johnson told this little anecdote to 

^ Johnsonian Miscellanies, ii, 232. - Boswell Papers, xviii, 94. 

3 Boswell's Life, iii, 312. 


Sir Joshua Reynolds, he mentioned a circumstance which 
he omitted to-day: — 'Why (said Garrick) it is as red as 
blood '."^ 

The manuscript of the dialogues which was later used 
by the printer is now in the Yale University Library, 
the gift of Mr Gabriel Wells, of New York. It is in the 
hand of Mary Palmer, as has been said, but has been 
corrected by Sir Joshua himself. These corrections tend 
to make Johnson's remarks briefer, more forceful, and 
more pointed.^ In every case the revised form is 
superior to the earlier version. 

Twenty-four years after Sir Joshua's death the dia- 
logues were privately printed by Mary Palmer, who had 
become Lady Thomond. My copy of this fifteen-page 
pamphlet is inscribed by W. G. Price of Torrington, 
who married one of Sir Joshua's great-nieces : ' ' Privately 
published by M'■^ Gwatkin." Doubtless Lady Thomond 
discussed the matter with her sister, but there seems to 
be no good reason to disbelieve Leslie's statement that 
it was she and not Mrs Gwatkin who had the pamphlet 
printed.3 She had been the original scribe, and the 

^ Id. 264. Cf. Johnsonian Miscellanies, ii, 239. Other echoes of 
the dialogues in the Life are pointed out by Hill, but the resemblances 
in them may have been fortuitous. 

^ To illustrate the nature of Sir Joshua's revisions, the follow^ing 
example should suffice. Towards the end of the second dialogue Johnson 
was originally quoted as saying: "Garrick could not do impossibilities, 
it was out of his power to satisfy all. besides, sir, I do not see why that 
should be imputed as a crime, which we all so irresistibly {tt\ Sc consider 
as no great crime to practise; that is to make a greater exertion in the 
presence of new men than old acquaintance; it is undoubtedly true that 
Garrick had extended his friendship so far that but little was left for any 
individual." The revised passage is much more compact: "besides, sir, 
I do not see why that should be imputed to him as a crime, which we all 
so irresistibly feel and practise; we all make a greater exertion in the 
presence of new men than old acquaintance; it is undoubtedly true that 
Garrick divided his attention among so many that but little was left to 
the share of any individual." 

3 Leslie and Taylor, ii, 249 n. 


directions to the printer are also in her hand. She had 
inherited the bulk of her uncle's estate, had been in- 
strumental in having the monument erected to him in 
St Paul's, and would have been the logical person to 
circulate this as an additional souvenir of her uncle's 
greatness. Mrs Gwatkin did present to their friend 
Miss Edgeworth the copy which is now in the Johnson 
Museum at Lichfield, but Hannah More, Mrs Siddons, 
Lord Sheffield, and Lord Ossory received their copies 
from Lady Thomond.^ 

Privately printed in 1 8 1 6, the dialogues were made 
public in the same year when they appeared in the London 
New Monthly Magazine of August. Three months later 
they were copied in the North American Review. A few 
years after this they were incorporated with permission 
in the memoirs of Laetitia Matilda Hawkins and in the 
following decade were published in Croker's edition of 
Boswell's Lije, The most recent edition is that brought 
out in 1927 at the Cayme Press with an introduction by 
R. Brimley Johnson. The errors in this introduction have 
been silently corrected above, but Mr Johnson's biblio- 
graphical note is equally inaccurate. "There has been 
no reprint since 1856", he writes, referring to their 
appearance in Cotton's Gleanings, He thus overlooks 
the fact that they are included in the biographies of 
Leslie and Taylor (i 865) and of Sir Walter Armstrong 
(1900), that a thoroughly annotated edition of them is 
to be found in Johnsonian Miscellanies (1897), ^^^ ^"^^ 
they also appear in Mrs Clement Parsons 's Garrick and 
His Circle (1906) and in F. H. Skrine's Gossip About 

^ Id. 259. Mrs Siddons's copy is one of three in the British Museum; 
Lord Sheffield's is in the Brick Row Book Shop, New York; Lord 
Ossory's is in the Theatre Collection of the Harvard College Library. 
Among the Reynolds MSS. lent to the Royal Academy by Rupert 
Colomb, Esq. is a copy in Mary Palmer's hand, of a letter Miss Edge- 
worth wrote from France in 1792, describing the king's execution from 
the point of view of her brother, who was Louis XVI's priest. 


Dr Johnson and Others (1926). That they have so fre- 
quently been reprinted is testimony to their worth. 

It may be that Sir Joshua once intended writing a 
sequel to these dialogues. Such at least is one possible 
interpretation of three unpublished manuscript pages 
in my possession. The subject is drinking — a subject 
which we know to have been argued more than once by 
Reynolds and Johnson. Sir Joshua's account should be 
compared with similar discussions recorded by Boswell 
on 12 April, 1776 and 28 April, 1778.^ 

The Conversation turned on Drinking. D^. Johnson at this 
time was a water drinker. Sir J. stood up in defence of Drinking 
a cheerfull Glass and regretted that D"". Johnson had left it off. 

J. It does nobody any good, it impares both his body and 

[R.] I am inclined to agree [supra, think] with you that 
spiritous liquors do no good in respect to health, and that its 
general effect is to shorten life by consuming of animal spirits in 
one day what ought to serve for two, and if it affects the body, it 
may by degrees enfeeble the mind, as they generally go together 
but for the present minute wine certainly contributes to give him 
a disposition to be pleasd with himself and with every thing 
about him 

J. He may be more pleased with himself but he is more dis- 
pleasing to others I know nothing so disagreable as a drunken 
man coming into sober company 

R. I think so too, I am no advocate for drunkenness but 
even short of drunkenness a man wrought up to high spirits 
I agree is not a fit companion for a new company in a quiescent 
state their minds are not in Unison with each other. I re- 
member Boswell when you came in late to our Club in high 
spirits from dining with Lord Mountstewart. 

If this was to have been a part of another pair of 
dialogues, Sir Joshua could truthfully have had Johnson 
turn around and take as his own Sir Joshua's arguments. 
Boswell quotes a remark of Johnson's which is almost 

' Boswell 's Life, iii, 41, 327 ei seq. 


identical with the last speech of Sir Joshua's above: 
**A man, who has been drinking wine at all freely, should 
never go into a new company. With those who have 
partaken of wine with him, he may be pretty well in 
unison; but he will probably be offensive, or appear 
ridiculous, to other people."^ 

Sir Joshua's argument in favour of drinking is con- 
tinued on another folio in my possession : 

Wine give[s] no help to Reason but to imagination what 
the mind in its cool minutes has collected and made up, he better 
expresses when his blood is warmed than he would have been 
able to do without that help, but on a subject [on] which he has 
not previously thought he is not likely to succeed the better for 
it he loses the chain of argument or any discourse that requires 
long deduction 

When this was written is problematical. In January, 
1775, Johnson wrote to Boswell: "Reynolds has taken 
too much to strong liquor, and seems to delight in his 
new character." To this Boswell has added the note: 
**It should be recollected, that this fanciful description 
of his friend was given by Johnson after he himself had 
become a water-drinker."^ This suggests an approximate 
date for the discussion. The allusion to Boswell's drinking 
with his Maecenas, the son of the Earl of Bute, also 
points to 1775. ^^ 3^ March Boswell dined with 
Mountstuart and after drinking too much went to the 
Club, where his drunken remarks annoyed his associates. 3 

Another folio in the same collection indicates that 
Sir Joshua contemplated writing a critique on Johnson's 
literary ability: 

The chief advantage that proceeds from young people's 
reading novels is the habit they acquire of seeking for and finding 
their amusements in Books. But it gives them very little real 

^ Boswell's Life^ ii, 436. ^ Boswell's Life^ ii, 292. 

3 Boswell Papers, x, \6% et seq. 


knowledge of life If on the contrary we could suppose Novels 
writ by an Angel or some superior Being whose comprehensive 
faculties could develope and lay open the inmost recesses of the 
human mind, give the result of their experience compressd 
together in characters and exhibit this in the garb of play or 
amusement only by being conveyd in some story mixed with 
interesting events which totally occupy and fix the attention and 
such Events as might have happend to every reader, supposing his 
rank whether from being too high or too lower had not exempted 
him from such accidents, or ever being in such situations, Such 
a Novel would give in a few hours the experience of ages, such 
a Novel is Rasilas what is here done whatever part of life 
it develops the result the moral is undoubted truth 

Together with these fragments in my possession is 
a far more important manuscript, the rough draft of 
Sir Joshua's character sketch of Dr Johnson. It consists 
of fourteen folios, many of which are covered on both 
sides. Some of the pages are filled with incoherent notes 
that are elsewhere expanded. What is clear at the outset 
is that we have here not one unified essay, as has always 
been thought, but several dififerent drafts, none of which 
is in final form. 

While engaged in writing his biography of Reynolds, 
C. R. Leslie was allowed to copy the manuscript, which 
at that time was in the possession of Miss Gwatkin. 
** I have transcribed the paper exactly," he wrote, "except 
in the matter of punctuation, and in the introduction, 
now and then, of a word, between brackets, to complete 
the sense. "^ Leslie was an honest and conscientious 
biographer, but he was seldom accurate in his copies of 
manuscripts, and the statement just quoted becomes 
bizarre when his transcript is compared with the original. 
Unfortunately his inaccuracies have misled such a 
scholar as Birkbeck Hill and hence all students of the 
period who have cause to refer to Sir Joshua's sketch.^ 

^ Leslie and Taylor^ ii, 454. 

* Hill's profusely annotated reprint of Leslie's text is included in 
Johnsonian Miscellanies, ii, 219 et seq. 


In printing what Sir Joshua actually wrote, I have 
thought it better in this instance to normalise the 
punctuation. I have attempted to differentiate between 
the various drafts, dividing the pages into three groups. 
The first of these consists of random notes, most of 
which are developed in pages of the second or third 
groups. Where I have found the same statement 
appearing on three different pages, I have assumed 
that we have the genesis of the idea, the rough draft, 
and the revised version. In arranging the sheets I have 
retained the numbering given them by a former owner. 
I have been handicapped, of course, by not having seen 
all that Sir Joshua wrote on the subject. A missing page 
naturally destroys what continuity of thought there 
was. But it seems more sensible to attempt such an 
arrangement than to print the manuscript as has been 

According to the scheme adopted, the first group con- 
sists of five pages which are on the whole less polished 
and less organised than the rest and for that reason seem 
to have been the earliest written: 

Of his Learning as a Grammarian His English Dictionary f. 1 1 
testifies. His skill in Biograp[h]y and Criticism is shewn in His 
lives of the English Poets. 

His penetration and skill in devloping the source of the passions, 
the human mind, is discoverd in his moral Essays. 

Of these acquisitions, superior as he was to all His Cotem- 
poraries, I shall say nothing, but leave to others to give him that 
praise which he justly deserves. It is for higher qualities that he 
has acquired the esteem and respect of all men who respect Piety 
& Virtue. His Writings and His Conduct in life were / employed f. 11 
in the promoting to the utmost of his Power Virtue and Piety. 

As in his Vv^ritings not a line can be found which a saint could 
wish to blot, so in his life he would never suffer the least im- 
morality, indecency, or any conversation contrary to Virtue [or] 
Piety to proceed without a severe check, whicli no elevation of 
rank exempted them from. 

Such a reverence for truth [did he have] that he never in- 


fringed on it even in the slightest matter;^ from his reverence to 
truth he measured out his approbation or dishke. 

In his last minutes he receiv'd great comfort from the recollec- 
tion that he hoped hehadendeavourd^ to promote the Cause of Vir- 
f. 8 tue,/and of his Virtues the most distinguishd was his love of Truth. 

He sometimes, it must be confessd, Coverd his ignorance in 
generals, rather than appear ignorant or to be conquerd in 
argument, which he never would suffer even the appearance, 
and indeed to avoid it he may be said to fight with all sorts of 
whepons, overb[e]aring rudeness not excepted. You will wonder 
to hear a person who loved him so sincerely speak thus freely of 
his friend, but you must recollect I am not writing his panygirick, 
but [am] as if upon oath not only to give the truth but the whole 
truth and nothing hut the truth. 

His pride had no meanness in it; there was nothing little or 
mean about him.3 

living in Company and allways talking his best 

When he had made up his mind, he was firm. Burk, for 
instance; tho he envyd him as much as he did speek. 

To those who sought his love, &c. Shakespear. 

Lord Chesterfield and him opposed. 

His expressions of approbation or dislike were measure[d] with 
the greatest passion, & it was seldom pleasing at the minute. / 
f. 5 This caution appears to be necessary to a Biographer, suppos- 
ing the Biography to consist in anecdotes, as in Dr. Johnsons 
case — to proportion the eccentric parts of his character to the 
proportion of his book. A short book containing an account of 
all the peculiarities or absurdities of a man would leave on the 
reader's mind an impression of an absurd character. That Johnson 
was rude at times cannot be denied, but by reading any account 
of him you would shrink at the Idea of being in his company. / 
f. 6 Every4 promenant part of a mans Character — Every eccentric 
action, when exerted, counts for ten, like some particular cards 
in Games (ten negatives amount to one affirmation). I know no 

^ The rest of this sentence is added as an afterthought in a footnote. 
The idea is repeated at the bottom of the next folio. 

^ Supra, allways been an advocate. 

3 The words in italics immediately preceding and following this 
sentence are crossed out. "Of Johnson's pride, I have heard Reynolds 
himself observe, that if any man drew him into a state of obligation with- 
out his own consent, that man was the first he would affront, by way of 
clearing off the account." {Northcote, i, 71.) 

"* Supra, time a. The passage in brackets following this sentence was 
crossed out. 


greater inducement to uniform propriety of conduct than this 
consideration: how much one breach of uniformity cancels a 
great number of acts of a regular and conformible consistency. 

The germ of everything recorded in later groups is 
to be found in these pages. After pointing out that both 
in his writings and his life Johnson sought *'to promote 
the Cause of Virtue", Sir Joshua thinks of his reverence 
for truth, a point which he rephrases at the top of the 
third page. But Sir Joshua, trained by his master to 
respect truth, must confess that there were times when 
Johnson did not tell the whole truth. Hence the qualifying 
sentence which follows. This recalls to him Johnson^s 
pride in out-talking a rival, but, writes he, that pride had 
no meanness in it. His thoughts being on Johnson's 
conversational abilities, he then jots down the two reasons 
which explain his pre-eminence, the fact that he was 
always in society, and that when conversing he made an 
effort to talk his best. Then he thinks of Johnson's 
stubbornness — his unwillingness to alter his opinion 
after once declaring it. There is nothing in the rest of 
the manuscript to throw light on the reference to Burke. 
My guess is that Reynolds here intended to develop 
Johnson's attitude towards Burke's wit. As all readers 
of Boswell know, Johnson "was strangely unwilling to 
allow to that extraordinary man the talent of wit". 
"When Burke does not descend to be merry, his con- 
versation is very superiour indeed. There is no proportion 
between the powers which he shews in serious talk and 
in jocularity. When he lets himself down to that, he is in 
the kennel."^ We know that among others Malone, 
^ BoswelFs Life^ iii, 323; iv, 276. Cf. v, 32: "We talked of Mr. 
Burke. Dr. Johnson said, he had great variety of knowledge, store of 
imagery, copiousness of language. ROBERTSON. 'He has wit too.' 
JOHNSON. 'No, Sir; he never succeeds there. 'Tis low; 'tis conceit. 
I used to say, Burke never once made a good joke'." In his lengthy note 
on this Boswell wrote: "Sir Joshua Reynolds, who agrees with me en- 
tirely as to Mr. Burke's fertility of wit, . . .has often heard Burke say, 
in the course of an evening, ten good things, each of which would have 
served a noted wit (whom he named) to live upon for a twelvemonth." 


Windham, Boswell, and Reynolds heartily disagreed 
with this opinion. Hence Sir Joshua may have intended 
this as an illustration of Johnson's obstinacy. 

How he intended to compare Johnson and Chester- 
field it is not possible to declare. Since the other memor- 
anda refer to conversation, it is conceivable that Reynolds 
was thinking of a certain similarity between the two men 
in this respect. What Reynolds was to write of Johnson 
is not unlike what Chesterfield had written of himself: 
"I was early convinced of the importance and powers of 
eloquence; and from that moment I applied myself to it. 
I resolved not to utter one word, even in common conver- 
sation, that should not be the most expressive, and the 
most elegant that the language could supply me with for 
that purpose; by which means I have acquired such a 
certain degree of habitual eloquence, that I must now 
really take some pains, if I would express myself very 
inelegantly."^ An alternate interpretation of Sir Joshua's 
cryptic line, equally impossible to prove, but perhaps 
worth mentioning, is that it is an allusion to Hayley's 
unreadable pamphlet, anonymously published in 1787 
as Two Dialogues containing a Comparative View of the 
LiveSy Characters^ and Writings^ of Philips the late Earl of 
Chesterfield and Dr Samuel Johnson. Sir Joshua knew 
the author and would have read the dialogues for their 
subject-matter, though he would hardly have approved 
of the treatment accorded his friend. The general thesis 
of the pamphlet may be summed up by quoting from 
one of the last speeches : *' My hand would have shrunk 
from Johnson, as from a hedge-hog; and from Chester- 
field, if not as an adder too venomous to be touched, yet 
certainly as an eel too slippery to be held."^ It would 
have served as additional proof to Reynolds that John- 

^ Quoted by Hill in Boswell's Life, iv, 184 n. Cf. ante, p. 79, where 
Sir Joshua refers to another appropriate passage from Chesterfield's letters. 
^ Op. cit. 235. Cf. ante, p. 154, the last sentence on f. 5. 


son's biographers were concealing the true character of 
their subject by retaiHng anecdotes which emphasised 
his less pleasant idiosyncrasies. 

To the five pages which have been arbitrarily placed 
in Group I two other passages should be added. The first 
is printed by Cotton, *' taken from a paper headed S. 
Johnson'" } I have not seen the original, but because this 
is the only excerpt made from it, I assume that if there 
were other comments, they must have been so frag- 
mentary as to have been considered not worth printing. 

Simplicity gave him no pleasure. He could more easily fill 
the ear with some splendid novelty, than awaken those ideas that 
slumber in the heart. 

The other passage is included in Leslie's version, but 
some time after he had transcribed it, the original w^as 
separated from the rest of the sketch. Not having seen 
this, I am unable to assign it with conviction to any 
particular group. 

Custom, or politeness, or courtly manners has authorised such 
an Eastern hyperbolical style of compliment, that part of Dr. 
Johnson's character for rudeness of manners must be put to the 
account of this scrupulous adherence to truth. His obstinate 
silence, whilst all the company were in raptures, vying with each 
other who should pepper highest,^ was considered as rudeness or 

So much for what I have considered Group I, which 
for the most part is a mere collection of notes in which 
the trend of the later sketch is clearly indicated. Groupl I, 
if my hypothesis is correct, was the rough draft of the 
sketch, written from the notes above and from similar 
notes which have either been destroyed or at least 

^ Cotton's Gleanings, 231. 

^ Of praise a mere glutton, he swallowed what came, 
And the pufFof a dunce he mistook it for fame; 
Till his relish grown callous, almost to disease, 
Who peppered the highest was surest to please. 

Goldsmith's Retaliation^ on Garrick. 


separated from the other manuscripts. Sir Joshua has 
numbered the recto of folio 7 " i ", the verso '*2", and 
the recto of foHo 4 ' ' 3 " . 

f. 7 We are both of Dr. J[ohnson]'s school; for my own part 
I acknowledge the highest obligations to him^; he may be said 
to have formed my mind and to have brushed off from it a deal 
of rubbish. Those very people whom he has taught to think 
rightly will occasionally critisise the opinions of their master 
when he nods, but we should allways recollect that it is he himself 
who taught us and enabled us to do it. 

The drawback of His Character is entertaining prejudices on 
very slight foundation — givin[g] an opinion perhaps first at 
random, but from its being contradicted he thinks himself 
obliged allways stubbornly to support — or if he could^ not sup- 
por[t], still not to acquiesce. Of this I remember an instance of 
a defect or forgetfuUness in his Dic[tionary]. I asked him how 
he come not to correct it in the second edition. "No," says [he], 
"they made so much of it that I would not flatter them by 
altering it." He would sometimes risque an opinion expres[s]ed / 
f. 7 verso in the strongest terms [on a book in] which [he] had read only 
a few lines; when afterwards he was forced to read it with greater 
attention in order to give an account of it as a Critic, bethought 
it righ[t] still to adhered to his first accidental opinion and to use 
all his skill in vindicating that opinion, which was not difficult 
for him to do. this was the fat[e] of the Poems of Grey, and in 
order to depreciate them, the method he seems to have taken is 
to take up those higher excellencies which are on the verge of 
defects and condemning3 them as such; thus in moralit[y] it is 
easy to call a generous man a spendthrift that is ignorant of the 
value of mon[e]y, a frugal man a miser with[out] a spark of 
generosity, a gay character an empty fop, and a grave on[e] a 
f. 4 stupid blockhead. / It is allways to be rememberd that I am giving 
a portrait, not a panygirick of Dr. Johnson. 

From passion, from the prevalence of his disposition for the 
minute, he was continually acting contrary to his reason, to his 
own principles. It was a frequent subject of animadversion with 
him, how much authors lost of the pleasure and comfort of life 
by their carrying allways about them their own consequence and 
celebrity. Yet no man in mixed company — not to his intimates, 
certainly, for that would be an insupportable slavery — ever acted 

^ MS.: to me. ^ MS.: cound. 3 OnginaHy Jamning. 


with more circumspection to his Character than himself. The 
most h'ght and airy dispute was with him a dispute on the Arena; 
he fought up on every occasion as if his whole reputation depended 
upon the victory of the minute, and he fought [with] all the 
weapons; if he was foild in argument, he had recourse to abuse & 
rudeness. That he was not thus strenuous for Victory with his 
intimates in tete-a-tete^ con-/versations, where there were no f. 4. verso 
witnesses, may be easily believed; indeed, had his conduct been 
to them the same as he exhibited to the public, his friends could 
never have entertained that love and affection for him which 
they all feel & profess for his memory. 

But what appears extraordinary is that a Man who so well saw, 
himself, the folly of this ambition of shining, of speaking or acting 
allways according to the character you imagin'd you possessd 
in the world, should produce in himself the greatest example of 
a contrary conduct. 

Were I to write the life of Dr. Johnson I would labour this 
point, to seperate his conduct that proceeded from his passions, 
and what proceeded from his reason, from his Natural disposition 
seen in his quiet hours. / 

The Christian Religion was with him such a certain and f. 12' 
Establish [ed] truth that he consider[ed] it as a kind of profan- 
[atjion to hold any argument about its truth. 

He was not easily imposed upon by pretensions to honesty & can- 
dour, but he appeard to have little suspicion of Hipocracy in religion. 

His Passions were like those of other men; the difference only 
lay in his keeping a stricter watch over himself in petty cir- 
cumstances this wayward disposition appeard, but in greater 
things in which he thought it worth while to summons his 
recollection he came on his guard [and] allways expressd himself 
as he ought; whatever he had felt and where [he had] more time, 
he was certain to be right, as when he writ. 

When he had been rude, and the object of his rudeness bore 
it without a return, he took the first opportunity of addressing 
himself to him in a kind manner; if it was returned he thought 
himself acquitted of making any humiliati[ng apology.] / 

[To them that loved him not] as rough as winter; to those f. 13 
who sought his love as mild as summer.3 Many instances will 

^ MS.: in a tete a tete. 

^ This page is numbered by Reynolds '* I ", folio 13 is numbered "2", 
and the verso of folio 12 "3". 

3 Misquoted from Henry Fill, iv, ii. Cf. ante, f. 8 on p. i 54. 


readily occur to those who knew him intimately of the guard 
which he endeavourd allways to keep over himself. 

The prejudices he had to countrys did not extend to individuals. 
The chief prejudice in which he indulged himself was against 
Scotland, tho he had the most cordial friendship with individuals 
[of that country]. This he used to vindicate as a duty. In respect 
to French men he rather laughed at himself; but it was unsur- 
mountable that he considerd every foreigner as a fool till they 
had convinced him of the contrary. Against the Irish he enter- 
tained no prejudice; he thought they united themselves very 
well with us, but whilst the Scot[c]h when in England united 
and made a party by employing only Scotch servants & Scotch 
tradesmen, he held it right for Englishmen to oppose a party 
against them. / 

verso This reasoning would have more weight if the numbers 
were equal; a small body in a larger has such general disadvan- 
tages that I fear are scarce counterbalanced by whatever little 
combination they can make. A general combination against 
them would be too much & would be little short of annihilation. 
The character of Imlac, and pa[r]ticularly his propensity to 
madness, was certainly taken from himself. In one of those 
extempore prayers which he frequently, a few days before his 
death, poured out^ with great fervency, he thanked God for 
preserving his understanding unimpared to the last, more es- 
peacially as he allways had throug[h] life a great disposition to 
insanity. This his friends must have remarked and imputed to it 
the horror he had of being alone, and he never was if he could 
avoid it. / 

f. 14 During his last Illness, when all hope was at an end, he ap- 
peared to be quieter and more resignd. His approaching disso- 
lution was allways present to his mind. A few days before he 
dyed, Mr. Langton & Sir Joshua^ only present, he said he had 
been a great sinner, but he hoped he had given no bad example 
by his writing nor to his friends; that he had some consolation 
in reflecting that [he] had never denied Christ, and repeated the 
text whoever denies me, &c. We were both very ready to assure 

^ Over poured out is written he utterd. Sir Joshua may be thinking 
of 5 December, when he was closeted with Johnson alone. It was 
probably at this time that the dying man made his friend promise never 
to paint on a Sunday, to forgive him a debt of thirty pounds, and to read 
the Bible whenever he had the opportunity. Cf. Johnsonian Miscellanies, 
ii, 203. 

^ Originally myself. 


him that we were conscious that we were better & wiser from 
his Hfe & conversation, and that, so far from denying Christ, he 
had been in this age his greatest Champion.^ 

Sometimes a flash of wit escaped him^ as if involuntary; he 
was asked how he Hked the new man that was hired to watch 
by him. "Insteed of watching," says he, "he sleeps like a dor- 
mouse; and when he helps me to bed he is as aukard as a Turnspit 
dog the first time he is put into the Wheel." 

What I have classified as Group III consists of eight 
pages. In them the same thoughts are expressed with 
some omissions and a number of additions. The group 
seems to have more unity than the others, and for that 
reason I believe it to be a revision of the rough draft given 
above. It will be noticed that this version is devoted 
entirely to Johnson's conversation; the reasons for its 
superiority are enumerated, and his method of talking 

From thirty years' intimacy with Dr. Johnson I certainly have 
had the means. If I had equally the ability, of giving you a true 
& perfect Idea of the Character and peculiarities of this extra- 
ordinary man. The habits of my profession unluckily extends to 
the consideration of so much only of character as is 3 on the 
surface, as is express'd in the lineaments of the countenance. 
An attempt to go deeper, and investigate the peculiar colouring 
of his mind as distinguishd from all other minds, nothing but 
your earnest desire can excuse the presumption even of attemp[t]- 
ing. Such as it is, you may make what use of it you please. Of 
his learning, & so much of his character as is discoverable in 

* The scene here described undoubtedly took place on 29 November, 
when Langton and Reynolds were alone wdth Johnson. Hoole called 
about eight in the evening, "but did not stay, as Mr. Langton was with 
him on business. I met Sir Joshua Reynolds going away". {^Johnsonian 
Miscellanies^ ii, 152.) Langton told Hawkins that on this evening 
Johnson's "hopes were increased, and that he was much cheared upon 
being reminded of the general tendency of his writings, and of his 
example". (Jd. 127.) An unpubhshed note in the possession of a 
London dealer, written on this day by Johnson to Langton, reads : 
"I earnestly beg the favour of seeing you this afternoon, do not be 
hasty to leave me, for I have much to say." 

* MS.: me. 3 Supra, lyes. 

f. I 


his writings [and is] open to the inspection of every person to 
judge for himse[lf], nothing need be said.^ j 
f. I verso I shall remark such qualities only as his works alone cannot 
convey, and among those the most distinguishd was hisposses[s]ing 
a mind which was, as I may say, allways ready for use. Most 
general subjects had undoubtedly been already discussed in 
the course of a studious thinking life. In this respect few men 
ever came better prepared into whatever company chance 
might through him, and the love which he had to society gave 
him a facility in the practice of applying his knowledge to the 
matter in hand which I believe was never exceeded by any man. 
It has been frequently observ'd that he was a singular instance of 
a man who had so much distinguishd himself by his writings that 
his conversation not only supported his character as an Author, 
which is very rarely seen, but what is still rarer, in the opinion of 
many was superior. Those who have lived with the Wits of the 
age know how rarely this happens. 

I have had the habit of thinking that this quality, as well as 
others of the same kind, are possess'd in consequence [of] acci- 
dental circumstances attending his life. / 
f. 2 What Dr. Johnson said a few days before his death of his 
disposition to insanity was no new discovery to those who were 
intimate with him. The character of Imlac in Rassilas, when the 
means of preventing madness is discussed, I allways considerd as 
a comment on his own conduct which he himself practiced,^ and 

^ Cf. ante, f . 1 1 on p. 1 5 3 . The words printed in italics are crossed out. 

^ Cf. ante, f. 12 verso on p. 160. Sir Joshua means not Imlac's 
character but his dissertation on insanity in chapter 44. Misled by Leshe's 
omission of the phrase "when the means of preventing madness is 
discussed", Hill refers to the wrong passage. Parts of Imlac's discourse 
are worth quoting to prove that Sir Joshua had this passage in mind while 
writing not only this sentence but the rest of the sketch. "There is no man, 
whose imagination does not, sometimes, predominate over his reason, 
who can regulate his attention wholly by his will, and whose ideas will 
come and go at his command. No man will be found, in whose mind 
airy notions do not, sometimes, tyrannize, and force him to hope or fear 
beyond the limits of sober probability. All power of fancy over reason, is 
a degree of insanity; but, while this power is such as we can control and 
repress, it is not visible to others, nor considered as any depravation of the 
mental faculties: it is not pronounced madness, but when it becomes 
ungovernable, and apparently influences speech or action. To indulge 
the power of fiction, and send imagination out upon the wing, is often 
the sport of those who delight too much in silent speculation. When we 


as it now appears very successfully, since we know he continued 
to possess his understanding in its full vigour to the last. Solitude 
to him was horror; nor would he ever trust himself alone un- 
employed in writing or reading. He has often beg'd me to accom- 
pany him home with him to prevent his being alone in the coach. 
Any company to him was better than none; by which he con- 
nected himself with many mean persons whose presence he could 
command; & for this purpose he establishd a Club at a little 
alehouse in Essex Street/ composed of a stra[n]ge mixture of very 
learned, very ingenio[u]s, and very odd people. Of the former was 
Dr. Heberden, Mr. Windham, Mr. Boswell, Mr. Stevens, Mr. 
Paradice ; those of the latter sort I do not think proper to enumerate. 
By thus living, by necessity, so much in company, more perhaps 
than any other studious man whatever, he had acquired by habit, 
and which habit / alone can give, that facility, and we may add, 
docility of mind, by which he was so much distinguishd. Another 
circumstance likewise contributed not a little to the powers which 
he had of expressing himself, which was a rule, which he said 
he allways practiced, of allways on every occasion speaking his 
best,^ whether the person to whom he addressed himself was or 
was not capable of comprehending him. "If", says he, "I am 
understood, my labour is not lost;3 if it is above their compre- 
he[nsion], there is some gratification, tho it was the admiration 
of ignorance"; and those, he said, were the most sincere admirers; 
and quoted Baxter, who made a rule never to finish a sermon 
without saying something which he knew was beyond the com- 

are alone we are not always busy; the labour of excogitation is too violent 
to last long; the ardour of inquiry will, sometimes, give way to idleness 
or satiety. He who has nothing external that can divert him, must find 
pleasure in his own thoughts, and must conceive himself what he is not; 
for who is pleased with what he is .f* . . . By degrees, the reign of fancy is 
confirmed; she grows first imperious, and in time despotick. Then 
fictions begin to operate as realities, false opinions fasten upon the mind, 
and life passes in dreams of rapture or of anguish. This, sir, is one of the 
dangers of sohtude." 

^ Hill (Boswell's Life, iv, 438) suggests that Reynolds borrowed 
this term from Hawkins's account, and points out the fact that one of its 
members, James Barry, had grossly attacked him. Although Johnson 
criticized Reynolds for hating no one living, Sir Joshua confessed that he 
did hate Barry. {Northcote, ii, 196). 

^ Cf. ante, f. 8 on p. i 54 and Prior's Life of Malone, London, i 860, 


3 Originally, exertion was not thrown away. 


prehension of his audience in order to insure their admiration.^ 
Dr. Johnson, by this continual practice, made that a habit which 
was at first an exertion; for every person who knew him must 
have observed that the moment he was left out of the conversa- 
tion, either from his deafness or from whatever cause, [he] 
remained but a few minutes without speaking or listening; his 
f. 3 mind appeard to be preying on itself;^ he fell into / a reverie 
accompany ed with strange antick gesticulations; but this was when 
his mind was absent; he never did [it] when his mind was engaged 
by the conversa[t]ion. It was therefore improperly called by 
Pope,3 as well as by others, convulsions, which imply involuntary 
contorsions; whereas, a word addressd to him, his attention was 
recoverd. Sometimes, indeed, it would be near a minute before 
he would give an answer, looking as if he laboured to bring his 
mind to bear on the question asked him.^ 

In arguing he did not trouble himself with much circumlo[cu]- 
tion, but directly & abruptly opposed his antagonist['s] opinion in 
an abrupt manner that was offensive to those [who] were not used 
to his manner i^ he fought with all sorts of wheapons; by ludicrous 
comparisons & similes; if all faild, with rudeness overbearing. 
He thought it necessary never to be worsted in argument,^ tho 
this disposition he frequently spoke off as very weak; "as if", 

' The passage from Reliquice Baxteriance which Johnson had in mind 
is reprinted in Boswell's Life, vi, Ix. 

^ Leshe's version reads preparing itself y which completely distorts 
Sir Joshua's meaning. As we shall see, Sir Joshua's theory was that when 
not engaged in conversation Johnson was inclined "to reprobate some 
part of his past conduct", and knovdng that this was harmful, he therefore 
sought society. 

3 Leslie, unable to read the name, left a blank. It will be remem- 
bered that when Johnson published his London , Pope, always on the 
look-out for possible rivals, requested Jonathan Richardson the younger 
to discover the name of the author. Richardson reported that he was an 
obscure person named Johnson. Later Pope learned something more 
about him and wrote his informant that this Johnson "has an Infirmity 
of the convulsive kind, that attacks him sometimes, so as to make Him a 
sad Spectacle". Richardson presented this note to Reynolds, who would 
never show it to Johnson because of the sentence quoted. (Boswell's 
Z//Jr,i, 143.) 

^ The last two words have been crossed out. 

5 The words in italics are crossed out. 

^ The rest of this paragraph was added as an afterthought in a footnote 
at the bottom of the page. It was omitted by Leslie. 


says he, "the character depended on one evening"; he thus 
seemed to be schooling himself, but he never learnt the 

He had one virtue which I hold one of the most difficult to 
practice. After the heat of contest was over, if he had been 
informed that his antagonist resented his rudeness, he was the 
first to seek after a reconciliation.^ / 

Truth, whether in great or little matters, he held sacred;^ f. 9 
"from the violation of truth", he said, "in great things your 
character or your interest was afFected; in lesser things your 
pleasure is equally destroyed". I remember, on his relating some 
incident, I added something to his relation which I supposed 
might likewise have happend ; " it would have been a better story," 
says he, "if it had been so, but it was not." Our friend Dr. 
Goldsmith was not so scrupolous, but he said he only indulged 
himself in white lyes, light as feathers, which he threw up in the 
air, & on whomever they fall, nobody was hurt. "I wish", says 
Dr. Johnson, "you would take the trouble of molting your 

As an instance of refined conduct which none [but] a man 
of perfect integrity could [have exhibited] I once inadvertantly 
put him in a situation from which it would be difficult for any 
man to extricate himself to his own satisfaction. / I pointed at f. 9 verso 
some lines in the Traveller which I told [him] I was sure he writ. 
He hesitated a little; during this hesitation I recollected myself 
that as I knew he would not lye, I put him in a cleft stick, and 
should have had but my due if he had given me a rough answer; 
but he only said, "Sir, I did write them, but that you may not 
imagine that I have wrote more than I really have. The utmost 
that I have wrote in that poem, to the best of my recollection, is 
not more than eighteen lines." It must be observed there was 
then an opinion about town that Dr. Johnson wrote the whole 
poem for his friend, who was then in a manner an unknown 

This conduct appears to me to be in the highest degree correct 
and refined. If the Dr.'s consicience would have let him told a lye, 
the matter would have been soon over; if it3 had not even been 
of a very refined nature, he might have satisfied it by giving no 
answer, however conscious he would be that silence in this case 

* Cf. antCy f. 12 on p. 1 59. 

^ Cf. ante, f. 1 1 verso and f. 8 on p. 154. 

3 conscience crossed out. 


would be here all the eloquence that was required effectually to 
f. lo discover the truth, it would be j telling it in words, and as I said, 
to a pretty gross conscience his secrecy would have molted ne[v]er 
a feather, and tho an additional falsehood, [it] would have been 
inferred that he had writ the whole; all this by the just conduct of 
Dr. Johnson was prevented} 

Dr. J. might justly, as in reality he did, console himself a few 
days before his death with the hope that [he] had given neither 
by his writings [n]or his conduct a bad example to mankind [or] to 
his friends;^ in no respect could the advantage of the practice of 
truth be more clearer demonstrated than by his own conduct and 
habits; the confidence which his friends reposed in his veracity 
and the satisfaction and pleasure which they consequently 
experienced from every thing he told them^ could not fail to 
incite them to imitate a quality which encreased so much the 
pleasure of society, the love and confidence of friends, and the 
encrease of their own honour. 

An outline of these pages which I have arranged as 
Group III will show that the writer has here a beginning, 
a middle, and an end, and that he has preserved unity 
thoughout. The opening paragraph announces that 
nothing need be said of Johnson's writings. He then 
comments on the outstanding characteristic, a mind that 
was always ready for use, which was the result of his 
constantly seeking out someone with whom to converse. 
This was caused by his fear of solitude, the dangers of 
which he touches upon in Rasselas, Hence his fondness 
for clubs of all sorts. And he was a good conversationalist 
not only because of his love of society, but because he 
**allways on every occasion'' spoke his best. The rest 
of the paper discusses Johnson's manner of talking. A 
conversation to him meant a contest; but though he talked 
for victory, he was always the champion of truth, and In 
his last hours he had the satisfaction of knowing that 

' The words printed in italics in this sentence were crossed out in the 
MS. This evidently indicates that the entire sentence was to have been 

^ Cf ante^ f. 1 1 verso on p. i 54 and f. 14 on p. 160. 

3 The words printed in italics are crossed out. 


because of this he had secured the confidence of friends 
in whom he had instilled a love of this same virtue. 

Sir Joshua was composing this at the ' * earnest desire 
of a fellow-Johnsonian, ''perhaps", suggests Leslie, 
*'Malone (or Boswell)".^ The use of "perhaps" is here 
over-cautious. The person Sir Joshua is addressing is 
engaged in writing a life of the master.^ Of all Johnson's 
biographers Boswell was the most intimate with Rey- 
nolds, and BoswelFs Life is noteworthy not only because 
of his ability to reproduce conversations dramatically, 
but because with rare patience he extracted from 
numerous acquaintances their impressions and recollec- 
tions of Dr Johnson. Among the many contributors to 
whom Boswell acknowledges his indebtedness are Max- 
well, Burney, Kemble, Taylor, Hector, Steevens, and 
Malone. But the two names that most frequently recur 
in this connection are Langton and Reynolds. 

The question then is in what way Reynolds contri- 
buted his assistance. Naturally some of the anecdotes 
which he supplied were communicated orally. For 
example, when Johnson asked Langton to tell him his 
faults and then turned angrily on him for obeying him, 
''Sir Joshua Reynolds pleasantly observed, that it was 
a scene for a comedy, to see a penitent get into a violent 
passion and belabour his confessor ".3 Sir Joshua's 
pleasant observation, we now know from the Boswell 
Papers^ was made in Westminster Abbey, when he first 
heard the anecdote from Boswell. Unquestionably other 
such references to the painter in the Life of Johnson 
derive from similar casual conversations. Some the 
biographer secured in a more formal way by dictation. 
For instance, he "wrote some anecdotes of Dr. Johnson 

^ Leslie and Taylor, ii, 454. 

^ Cf. ante, p. i 54, f. 5 ; p. i 59, f. 4 verso; p. 161, f. i (the penultimate 

3 Boswell's Life, iv, 281. Cf. Boswell Papers, vi, 62. 


dictated by Sir Joshua" after a dinner on 20 February, 
1786.^ But evidence of this sort in no way precludes the 
possibility that Sir Joshua also submitted in writing his 
comments on the character of his friend. 

The discovery of the Boswell Papers has thrown light 
on the biographer's method of composing his magnum 
opus. He ''first wrote out a rough draft on one side of 
quarto leaves of uniform size. He did not, however, 
transcribe the many letters and other documents which he 
wished to include, but associated them in some way with 
his draft, indicating either in the draft or on the documents 
themselves what portions were to be 'taken in'. Wher- 
ever necessary, documents in a series were connected 
by links, probably written on separate pieces of paper."^ 
Furthermore he felt at liberty to "take in" a portion of 
a document at one place and reserve others for other 
parts of his book. Under date of 1780 he inserts a 
series of anecdotes contributed by "my worthy friend 
Mr. Langton, whose kind communications have been 
separately interwoven in many parts of this work ".3 

It is my contention, then, that Sir Joshua wrote the 
sketch for Boswell, who took the painter at his word 
and made what use of it he pleased. Part of it he printed 
verbatim \ other parts were "separately interwoven" 
throughout the biography. Under date of 1739, when 
Boswell discusses Johnson's "cramps, or convulsive 
contractions, of the nature of that distemper called St, 
Vitus' s dance' \ he adds : " Sir Joshua Reynolds, however, 
was of a different opinion, and favoured me with the 
following paper. 

Those motions or tricks of Dr. Johnson are improperly called 
convulsions. He could sit motionless, when he was told so to do, 

^ Boswell Papers^ xvi, 167. 

* F. A. and M. S. Pottle, A Catalogue of the Boswell Papers, Oxford 
University Press, 193 i, no. 303. The italics are mine. 
3 Bosw^ell's Life, iv, i . The italics are mine. 


as well as any other man; my opinion is, that it proceeded from a 
habit which he had indulged himself in, of accompanying his 
thoughts with certain untoward actions, and those actions always 
appeared to me as if they were meant to reprobate some part of 
his past conduct. Whenever he was not engaged in conversation, 
such thoughts were sure to rush into his mind ; and, for this reason, 
any company, any employment whatever, he preferred to being 
alone. The great business of his life (he said) was to escape from 
himself; this disposition he considered as the disease of his mind, 
which nothing cured but company. 

One instance of his absence and particularity, as it is charac- 
teristick of the man, may be worth relating. When he and I took 
a journey together into the West, we visited the late Mr. Banks, 
of Dorsetshire; the conversation turning upon pictures, which 
Johnson could not well see, he retired to a corner of the room, 
stretching out his right leg as far as he could reach before him, 
then bringing up his left leg, and stretching his right still further 
on. The old gentleman observing him, went up to him, and in 
a very courteous manner assured him, that though it was not 
a new house, the flooring was perfectly safe. The Doctor started 
from his reverie, like a person waked out of his sleep, but spoke 
not a word." ^ 

Note that the opening sentence contains the phrase 
"improperly called convulsions", which is identical with 
one on folio 3 above, and that towards the end of the first 
paragraph "any company. . .he preferred to being 
alone" is very similar to "any company to him was better 
than none" on folio 2 above. Folios 2 and 3, according 
to my arrangement, are in the revised version. I suggest 
that this revised copy, further polished and supplemented 
by material here printed in Group II, was given to 

* Boswell's Life, i, 1 44 et seq. Their host was John Bankes of Kingston 
Hall. The conversation might well have turned upon pictures, as it was 
Bankes's collection which drew Reynolds out of his way to call upon him. 
It included a number of fine portraits by Cornehus Jansen and Vandyck, 
which had been saved from the wreckage of Corfe Castle during the 
Cromwellian decade. But what particularly struck Reynolds were the 
pictures by Lely. In notes which are still preserved in Kingston Lacy 
he says "that he never had fully appreciated Sir Peter Lely till he had 
seen these portraits". (Hutchins's History and Antiquities of the County 
of Dorset, 1868, iii, 237.) The visit was made on 20 x^ugust, 1762. 


Boswell and was later destroyed. Presumably what 
Boswell printed was only a part of this final draft. Other 
parts were either omitted entirely, for one reason or an- 
other, or were inserted elsewhere in his book. 

For instance, when Boswell animadverts upon the lies 
told by his predecessors. Sir John Hawkins and Mrs 
Piozzi, he declares that Johnson ** inculcated upon all 
his friends the importance of perpetual vigilance against 
the slightest degrees of falsehood; the effect of which, as 
Sir Joshua Reynolds observed to me, has been, that all 
who were of his school are distinguished for a love of 
truth and accuracy, which they would not have possessed 
in the same degree, if they had not been acquainted with 
Johnson".^ This closely resembles the sentiments ex- 
pressed in the sketch, and Boswell's italicizing of school 
suggests that he was using the actual word employed 
by Reynolds.^ 

Boswell was not in London when Johnson died. In 
describing the final illness he was therefore forced to 
rely upon the accounts of others. One of the anecdotes 
he includes is found, I believe, nowhere but in Sir 
Joshua's sketch. **A man whom he had never seen before 
was employed one night to sit up with him." This much 
had been told by Hawkins, but what follows is in Sir 
Joshua's words. ''Being asked next morning how he 
liked his attendant, his answer was, 'Not at all. Sir: the 
fellow's an ideot ; he is as aukward as a turn-spit when first 
put into the wheel, and as sleepy as a dormouse'. "3 

The second edition of the Lije did not appear until 
after the death of Reynolds. In his advertisement to it, 
Boswell announced that Sir Joshua had "contributed to 
improve" it, and a collation of the first two editions 
reveals that many of these contributions were letters 

^ Boswell's Life^ iii, 229 et seq. 

^ Cf. ante^ p. 158, the opening sentence on folio 7. 

3 Boswell's Life, iv, 41 1. Cf. ante, f. 14 on p. 161. 


which Johnson had written to him. The only other con- 
tributions of importance were grouped together under 
the year 1783. Boswell here inserted ' ' a few of Johnson's 
sayings, without the formahty of dates, as they have no 
reference to any particular time or place". Among these 
he gives seven anecdotes admittedly supplied by Rey- 
nolds. Of these two are to be found in Sir Joshua's 
sketch : 

Johnson used to say that he made it a constant rule to talk as 
well as he could both as to sentiment and expression, by which 
means, what had been originally effort became familiar and easy. 
The consequence of this, Sir Joshua observed, was, that his 
common conversation in all companies was such as to secure him 
universal attention, as something above the usual colloquial style 
was expected. . . . 

Sir Joshua once observed to him, that he had talked above the 
capacity of some people with whom they had been in company 
together. "No matter. Sir, (said Johnson); they consider it as 
a compliment to be talked to, as if they were wiser than they are. 
So true is this, Sir, that Baxter made it a rule in every sermon that 
he preached, to say something that was above the capacity of his 

Following this series of anecdotes are others, for which 
Boswell gives no source. The fourth of these is not unlike 
what is found in Sir Joshua's sketch : 

Talking of the success of the Scotch in London, he imputed 
it in a considerable degree to their spirit of nationality. "You know. 
Sir, (said he,) that no Scotchman publishes a book, or has a play 
brought upon the stage, but there are five hundred people ready 
to applaud him."^ 

The proximity of this ''particular" to those furnished 
by Reynolds makes it not improbable that Boswell was 
once more referring to Sir Joshua's manuscript. 

To account for the fact that part of the sketch appears 
in the original edition of the Life and part in the second 
edition I suggest that in the manuscript given to Boswell 

^ Boswell's Life, iv, 186. Cf. ante, f. 13 on p. 160. 


Sir Joshua omitted the anecdotes which have just been 
discussed, on the grounds that they, were too trivial, but 
that when Boswell was making additions for a new edition 
he was shown what Sir Joshua had previously discarded.^ 
This, of course, is the sort of statement which cannot 
be proved until new evidence is unearthed, but the basic 
argument in this connection, that the character sketch 
was written at Boswell's request and was used in the 
Lije of Johnson^ seems to me indisputable. It would have 
been strange indeed had Boswell with his passion for 
completeness failed to dig in such a Herculaneum. 

^ Prof. Pottle suggests as a reason for the omissions Sir Joshua's 
unwillingness to take too prominent a part in the biography. One of the 
few deletions from the manuscript of the Life preserved in the Isham 
Collection is an anecdote mentioning Reynolds. 


"His illness was long, but borne with a mild and cheerful 
fortitude, without the least mixture of any thing irritable 
or querulous, agreeably to the placid and even tenour of 
his whole life." Burke'' s obituary on Sir Joshua. 

By 1790 Sir Joshua was an old man. To be sure, he was 

only sixty-seven, an age which finds many men still 

vigorous, but in his case physical infirmities had begun 

to tell on his constitution. On the unlucky 13th day of 

July in the previous year (the day before the fall of the 

Bastille) he had been forced to stop painting, being 

** prevented by my Eye beginning to be obscured". A 

few months later he had completely lost the use of his 

left eye and lived in continual fear of losing the other as 

well. Time hung heavily on his hands. Occasionally he 

would clean or mend a picture, but the danger of total 

blindness prevented him from any steady work of this 

sort. Some visiting he did, and he still enjoyed playing 

his favourite game of whist, but he realized that his days 

as a painter were over. In October, 1789, Boswell wrote : 

**Sir Joshua Reynolds' loss of the sight of one eye, and 

weakness of the other, you may believe, must afflict him 

deeply. He is another instance of did beatus ante obitum 

nemo. His friends are assiduous in consoling him."^ 

His niece Mary Palmer '* could not bear the thought of 

his spending much of his time alone". ^ 

^ Letters of James Boswell, ed. Tinker, Oxford, 1924, ii, 379 et seq. 

^ Mary Palmer's letters to her cousin William Johnson, printed in 

part by Cotton and Leslie and Taylor, were lent in 1925 to Thomas 


By flattery unspoiTd was the phrase which was to have 
begun a new line in Goldsmith's "epitaph" of Sir 
Joshua, and a similar characterization of him was made 
by Johnson, who once observed: ''There goes a man 
unspoiled by prosperity." But Goldsmith himself re- 
marked that "no man is proof against continual adula- 
tion".^ Retaliation was written in 1774; Johnson died 
ten years later, and hence their comments have no refer- 
ence to Sir Joshua's behaviour during the last two years 
of his life, when he was depressed by the fear of going 
blind and by a fatal liver complaint which the doctors 
failed to diagnose. Recognized by the world as one of its 
great men, he became more positive in his opinions and 
less inclined merely to take snuff or shift his trumpet. 
The inevitable result was friction, and in spite of Burke's 
positive statement that he was not irritable or querulous 
at this time, towards the end of his life he became involved 
in a series of quarrels, in which he was usually in the 

Most of these quarrels were with certain Academicians 
who were hostile to him. "Sir William Chambers", 
noted Farington, "in many respects had too much con- 
sidered himself and had assumed improperly, great 
power. . . . Sir Joshua Reynolds had felt it, & had told 
him in the Council, that though He (Sir Joshua) was 
President, Sir Wm. was Viceroy over him."^ What 
finally led to an open quarrel was the president's desire 
to select as soon as possible a Professor of Perspective. 
None of the Academicians volunteered to serve in this 
capacity. One of Sir Joshua's patrons. Lord Aylesford, 
suggested as candidate Giuseppe Bonomi, an architect 
who was employed by the brothers Adam. But Bonomi 
was not a member of the Academy. He was forthwith 

Madigan & Co., of New York. I have been unable to trace their present 

^ Boswell Papers, vii, 83. ^ Farington's Diary, iii, 31. 


proposed and eventually after considerable opposition 
was elected an Associate, though not until the president 
himself cast the deciding vote in his favour. But to be 
Professor of Perspective the candidate had to be an 
Academician, not merely an Associate. Sir Joshua there- 
fore pressed Bonomi's promotion at the next meeting, 
and when the Academy rejected his candidate in what 
was to him an insolent fashion, he resigned from the 
organization for which he had done so much. As might 
be expected the resignation provoked much comment. 
The newspapers of the day discussed the matter, poems 
were written supporting Reynolds, pamphlets appeared 
attacking him, and the private letters of the period 
reflected the widespread interest taken in the event 
even by people who were unconnected with the 

Among the many notices appearing in the newspapers 
was the following from the London Chronicle of 1 8—20 
February, 1790: 

We hear that Sir Joshua Reynolds is preparing to publish a 
letter to Sir William Chambers, on the subject of a late election 
at the Royal Academy. Sorry as we are for the unforeseen 
consequence of this event, we have still some obligation to it, 
because it furnishes employment for the judicious and entertaining 
pen of our abdicated President. 

Instead of giving this letter to the press,^ Sir Joshua 
decided to write a fuller vindication of himself in order 
to silence the ''not very advantagious" accounts which 
were circulating. His niece Mary Palmer wrote to her 
cousin on the 5th of March: ''my Uncle himself is 
preparing an account for the public as a vindication of 
his own Conduct, & when it is publishd I will most 
certainly send you a copy." On 21 April she informed 
her correspondent that ' ' his reconciliation with the Royal 

^ Letters, 1 94 et seq. 


Academy made any publication on the subject of their 
difference unnecessary". 

The Apologia still exists in manuscript in the Royal 
Academy. It has been included in Leslie and Taylor's 
biography and appears as an appendix to B. R. Haydon's 
autobiography, but neither of these copies is a correct 
one. Leslie's version omits much and is frequently 
inaccurate; Haydon's is considerably abridged. Those 
who wish to read it in toto^ arranged I think as the writer 
intended it, will find it printed below as Appendix IIL 
It is too extensive to find a place here. It is nevertheless 
worth reading, if only to illustrate Sir Joshua's state of 
mind at the time. According to Malone, he suffered 
"little from disappointments, or what others would have 
thought mortifications".^ If this is true, the quarrel with 
the Academy is an exception. No one can read his own 
account of it without perceiving how keenly he felt the 
insult to which he had been subjected. 

Nor when the quarrel with the Academy had been 
patched and the president had been reinstated were the 
wounds entirely healed. At the repeated request of Bur- 
goyne Sir Joshua had striven to have a picture by a youth 
named Maquignon admitted to the exhibition, but his 
efforts were futile. Shortly after this, he received a cold 
letter from Sir William Chambers, chastising him for 
having privately removed from the exhibition a picture 
of the Duke of Gloucester. Such friction continued for 
another twelve months, when another crisis arose over 
the Academy's subscription to Johnson's monument in 
St Paul's. This business greatly concerned Sir Joshua 
at the time, and he was annoyed to meet once more with 
the opposition of Sir William Chambers, who had the 
backing of the king. To present his arguments logically 
and forcefully he wrote them out on more than eight 
folio pages, which may be omitted here, since they have 
^ Farington's Diary^ i, 136. 


been printed by Leslie.^ It must have been at this time 
that he reconsidered resigning his position. According 
to Barry, **he felt himself restrained by a low politic 
combination in the Academy, which would not suffer the 
institution to be made of that importance and advantage 
to the public, which was so easy to effect with a little 
elevation of mind. If he had made this second resigna- 
tion, as he was so inclined, and thought himself obliged 
to do, the whole matter of difference had been published 
by himself; and as he neither wanted the penetration to 
investigate, nor the temper to manage it, probably it 
would not have been the least useful of his literary pro- 

Meanwhile his physical condition had shown little 
improvement. On 16 October, 1790, the St James's 
Chronicle printed the following notice: **Sir Joshua 
Reynolds has entirely recovered the use of one eye, but 
is so apprehensive of impairing his sight again, by the 
exercise of his profession, that he may almost be said to 
have taken leave of painting." Hence, as he was com- 
posing his fifteenth discourse, he was conscious of its 
being the last he would deliver. ''I have strongly incul- 
cated in my former Discourses, as I do in this my last" 
is one of his phrases ; in another passage he writes : ' ' My 
age, and my infirmities still more than my age, make it 
probable that this will be the last time I shall have the 
honour of addressing you from this place." And he ends 
the lecture with the sentence which is so often quoted : 
"I should desire that the last words which I should 
pronounce in this Academy, and from this place, might 
be the name of — michael angelo." 

Since these were to be his last words, he thought it 

^ Leslie and Taylor^ ii, 610 et seq. The original draft was recently 
in the possession of Mr Gabriel Wells. A contemporary copy of this, 
not in Sir Joshua's hand, is in the Yale University Library. 

^ Works of James Batry, London, 1809, ii, 478 ei seq. 


proper to review what he had previously said. To do this 
he re-read his other discourses, taking notes as he read. 
Among the Reynolds manuscripts in the Royal Academy 
is a page which seems to be one of his earliest attempts 
to put his ideas for the lecture on paper.^ The second 
note on this page reads: ''Review the Discourses and 
add to th[em]." The reading notes which he took, 
presumably at this time, are preserved in the Royal 
Academy.^ He first read those discourses which had 
been delivered after the first seven had been published 
as one volume. He still planned, as his letter to Jansen 
shows,3 to bring out a companion volume which would 
include all subsequent discourses. In this volume what 
we know as the eighth discourse would be called the 
first, the tenth would become the second, the eleventh 
the third, and so on. The ninth discourse, being an 
address extraordinary, delivered when the Academy 
moved to its new quarters in Somerset House, he appar- 
ently intended to omit. After re-reading the more recent 
discourses, he turned to the first seven, taking notes on 
these as well. He was then ready to write his final 

For his subject he chose the nature of genius, one 
which had always fascinated him. What seem to be pre- 
liminary notes for this are written on seven pages printed 
below.4 Rough drafts of parts of the discourse have also 
been preserved, two of which deserve comment. The 
first of these was probably written originally for the third 
discourse. The opening sentence on the folio, which is 
crossed out, appears near the end of that discourse, but 
he had not included the illustration: ''Pope knew that 
when he was translating Homer that it would have been 

^ Folio 50; post. Appendix II, p. 243 (XV, i). 

^ Folio 61 ; post. Appendix I, p. 215. 

3 Cf. ante, p. 66. 

^ Cf. post. Appendix II, pp. 243 et seq. (XV, i, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7). 


better to have given the translation the simplicity of the 
original, but he considerd that he was to make a popular 
poem," etc. I suggest that the opening sentence was 
crossed out after it had been incorporated in the third 
discourse, and that the folio was then placed in a folder 
labelled "Discourses not used", where it remained until 
1790. In the final discourse he writes: 

Michael Angelo's strength thus qualified, and made more 
palatable to the general taste, reminds me of an observation which 
I heard a learned critick make, when it was incidentally remarked, 
that our translation of Homer, however excellent, did not convey 
the character, nor had the grand air of the original. He replied, 
that if Pope had not cloathed the naked Majesty of Homer, with 
the graces and elegancies of modern fashions, — though the real 
dignity of Homer was degraded by such a dress, his translation 
would not have met with such a favourable reception, and he 
must have been contented with fewer readers/ 

The ** learned critick", Sir Joshua explains in a footnote, 
was Dr Johnson. If Johnson made the remark in Sir 
Joshua's presence, he was merely repeating what he had 
written. '*The Anacreon of Cowley, like the Homer of 
Pope, has admitted the decoration of some modern graces, 
by which he is undoubtedly made more amiable to com- 
mon readers." ''Pope wrote for his own age and his own 
nation : he knew that it was necessary to colour the images 
and point the sentiments of his author; he therefore made 
him graceful, but lost him some of his sublimity."^ 

The other rough draft worthy of comment is possibly 
a discarded note to Dufresnoy,3 but I have placed it 
here because of the last lines on the page : ' ' Parmegian[o] 
found himself defective in proportion tho he never 
wanted grandeur of outline, his first — & his latter works 
Johnson Journey to the Hebrides." Parmigiano's first 
public work and one of his last are compared in the 

^ Works, ii, 201 et seq. Cf. post. Appendix II, p. 245 (XV, 10). 
^ Lives of the English Poets, ed. Hill, Oxford, 1905, i, 39; iii, 240. 
3 Works, iii, 80. Cf. post. Appendix II, p. 246 (XV, 1 1). 


fifteenth discourse, but there is no indication that he 
drew upon Johnson's Journey for an illustration. When 
writing the passage, Sir Joshua was advising the young 
artist as to how he should best proceed in his studies.^ 
Hence the reference to the Journey may have been made 
with this passage from Boswell's Journal in mind: "I 
advised Chambers, and would advise every young man 
beginning to compose, to do it as fast as he can, to get 
a habit of having his mind to start promptly; it is so 
much more difficult to improve in speed than in ac- 

Whatever he meant by this note. Sir Joshua made no 
direct reference to the Journey or BoswelFs Journal of the 
Tour in his discourse. But when discussing Parmigiano 
he alluded to another book edited by one of his friends. 
Of the Moses he wrote: 

As a confirmation of its great excellence, and of the impression 
which it leaves on the minds of elegant spectators, I may observe, 
that our great Lyrick Poet, when he conceived his sublime idea 
of the indignant Welch bard, acknowledged, that though many 
years had intervened, he had warmed his imagination with the 
remembrance of this noble figure of Parmegiano.3 

One of Gray's own notes to The Bard explained that the 
image had been taken from a well-known picture by 
Raphael. This note had in turn been annotated by Mason : 
** Moses breaking the tables of the law by Parmegiano, 
was a figure which Mr. Gray used to say came still 
nearer to his meaning than the picture of Raphael." 

Some idea of the extent to which Sir Joshua relied on 
his library when writing a lecture has already been given. 
When preparing this particular discourse he made use 
not only of Johnson and Gray, but, as we have seen above, 
of Junius's Ancient Paintings.'^ He refers directly to 
** Bishop's Ancient Statues", a collection of etchings by 

^ In this connection cf. post, Appendix II, p. 245 (XV, 8), 

^ Boswell's Z(/>, V, 66. 3 Works, ii, 195. ^ Ante,^. 125. 





>bub7 ^"^^ '''^^ e^^^'<^ ~ 


Fair copy of the Fifteenth Discourse in Mary Palmer's handwriting, 

i ij li,^ j^ i J t. (/«./ jt 111 ivj-aiy 0. ail 

corrected by Sir Joshua Reynold 


Jan van Bischop which was lot 143 1 at the sale of some 
of Sir Joshua's books in March, 1798. He quotes a line 
from Dryden's preface to The Tempest (''Within that 
circle none durst walk but he"), which he might have 
found in Spectatorno. 141. He paraphrases several pre- 
cepts of his friend James Harris, and he draws generously 
from Condivi and Vasari for his comments on Michel- 

When the lecture had finally been composed, it was 
given to Mary Palmer, who made a fair copy of it. As 
was her custom, she wrote on the right-hand side of the 
page only, leaving the left blank for later corrections. 
Two of these pages have been given in facsimile by 
Cotton as specimens of Sir Joshua's penmanship.^ The 
originals, which are in the Royal Academy, are on a sheet 
that has been folded to make two leaves. They have 
survived because on the verso of each Sir Joshua has 
written the rough draft of his note on Bernini's statue of 
Neptune.^ In addition to these pages of the fair copy 
there are two others, which have been preserved because 
on the other side of each is written the fragment on the 
French Revolution which is discussed below.^ 

The fair copy must have filled sixty-five pages; when 
the discourse was printed it occupied thirty-one pages. 
This difference is accounted for not only by the fact that 
only half the manuscript page was used but by Sir 
Joshua's deletion of much that he had written. The folio 
included here as an illustration shows the extensiveness 
of the revisions. When finally printed, this page occupied 
less than seven lines. In addition to the six lines which 
are crossed out on the folio, the sentence commencing: 

'^ Cotton's Gleanings, 232 ^/ seq. It is amusing that in order to prove 
Sir Joshua's authorship of the Discourses, Cotton should have selected 
these two pages. That they are in Mary Palmer's hand is easily seen by 
comparing with her uncle's her "f's and "t"s. 

^ Post, p. 186., Appendix II, p. 248. 3 Post, p. 188. 


with ** There is a daring intrepidity*' was eliminated. 
That the revisions were made on the advice of a friend 
is hardly to be questioned. We have seen that Sir Joshua 
normally sent the fair copy to someone in whose critical 
powers he had confidence. Malone was in Ireland at the 
time and asserted that the critic who read this discourse 
in manuscript was not Burke. Who he was is a problem 
that must remain unanswered until new material is 

Eventually on the loth of December the lecture was 
read at the Academy. The occasion proved to be more 
eventful than when other discourses had been delivered. 
That it was the president's last bow helped to make it so, 
but there were other reasons as well. An unpublished 
letter in my possession, written on 13 December by 
Dr Burney to his daughter Fanny, gives an entertaining 
description that is more detailed than those which have 
been printed: 

after dinner I went to Somerset house to hear Sir Joshua's 
farewell discourse! He had given me a Ticket in the morning, 
& had my name put on" a very good seat in the Evening. There 
were fewer people of fashion & dilettanti there than usual, 
though a croud of young Artists & mixtures. Sir Jos. had but just 
entered the room, when there happened a violent and unaccount- 
able crack w^^. astonished every one present. But no inquiry was 
made or suspicion raised of danger till another crack happened, 
w^^. terrified the Compx. so much that most of them were 
retreating towards the door with great precipitation, while others 
call out — gently! gently! or mischief will be anticipated. Well — 
no acc^ arriving of the cause of this Alarm — we looked at each 
other (I mean those who had the courage or folly if you will to 
stay) as much as to say, v/orCt you go first, & shew the example.? 
But nobody had the courage to leave Sir Joshua in sight of 2 or 
300 people, & we staid in spite of prudence & the suggestion of 
fear till the whole of an excellent discourse was read to a very 
turbulent audience (I mean of young students, & others behind) 
who seemed unable to hear & diverted themselves with conver- 
sation & peripatetic discourses more audible than that of poor 
S^. Jos. M^ Burke was there — . . .after the discourse was over, 


we had a great deal of talk ab*. the cracks h other things — He 
& I went up to S^ Jos. at the same time to thank him for our 
entertainm^ — & he s^. we had p^. him the highest possible 
Comp^ by staying perhaps at the risk of our lives — for the arches 
of this building w^^. had already given way 2 years ago, rendered 
our present danger much more serious. As we were descending 
(Mr. Burke, D^. King Cap*. King's brother, Boswell, Seward, 
S^. Jos. myself & others) Barry the painter met us on the stairs, 
& said that our danger had been very real, and our escape 
fortunate; for he had been examining the room under the exhibi- 
tion room & found that the chief beam had given way ! — why 
it did not go further, especially after the 2^. crack, I know not — 
perhaps from the company dispersing, which before was collected 
to a croud round the Tribune. But we are universally abused 
by our friends for our fool-hardy complaisance to Sir Jos. in not 
making the best of our way out at the i^*. warning. 

Another of those present was young Samuel Rogers, 
who told Leslie that at the conclusion of the discourse 
Burke stepped forward, took Reynolds by the hand, 
and quoted these lines from Paradise Lost: 

The angel ended, and in Adam's ear 

So charming left his voice, that he awhile 

Thought him still speaking, still stood fix'd to hear. 

The retort courteous to this was made the following 
August, when Sir Joshua published a print from his 
best portrait of Burke, underneath which appeared lines 
describing Abdiel, alluding to his friend's political 

The discourse does not seem to have been published 
until the end of February or early in March. The letter 
from the Bishop of London, acknowledging his copy, 
is dated 7 March, and on the following day Sir Joshua 
sent some of them to Malone, who was to distribute them 
in Ireland. Malone received word at the same time that 
nine copies were being sent to him from Boswell, who 

^ Prior's Life of Burke , I^ondon, 1826, ii, 163. Burke's version of 
the ''violent and unaccountable crack" is printed in JVhitles, ii, 134 
et seq. 


had succeeded Baretti as secretary for foreign correspon- 
dence in the Academy. One of the nine was for himself, 
*'four for Lord Charlemont, Lord Sunderlin, and the 
Jephsons. . . . Four I sent under cover of the Provost for 
the Archbishop of Tuam, the Lord Chancellor, and the 
Bishops of Killaloe and Dromore. Sir Joshua had sent 
one to the Provost himself".^ 

While distributing copies of his final discourse, he 
was preparing an exhibition of the pictures in his collec- 
tion. The project had long been in his mind. In the 
preceding year the Sr James's Chronicle of 27 July had 
printed the following notice: 

Sir Joshua Reynolds, a few months past, projected a gallery 
to be built and connected with his present rooms, with a view of 
shewing his extensive collection to the publick. He has now 
relinquished that idea, and taken the long rooms in the Haymarket, 
which are to be fitted up with these pictures by next winter. 

This collection, which he had spent a lifetime in ac- 
quiring, included pictures by almost all the great masters, 
Italian, French, Spanish, Flemish, and Dutch. Of his 
early days he wrote : ' * instead of beginning to save money, 
I laid it out faster than I got it, in purchasing the best 
examples of art that could be procured; for I even 
borrowed money for this purpose. The possessing por- 
traits by Titian, Vandyck, Rembrandt, &c. I considered 
as the best kind of wealth."^ His letters show him 
frequently bargaining with others for certain pictures 
which he desired. Many were of little artistic value, but 
had been purchased because in them Sir Joshua saw 
certain harmonies of colour or certain arrangements of 
figures which he admired. 

In 1 789 or 1 790 he offered his collection to the Royal 
Academy at a low price, with the sole proviso that the 

' Letters of James Boswell, ed. Tinker, Oxford, 1924, ii, 429. Cf. 
Leslie and Taylor, ii, 595 and Letters, 210. 
* Works, i, 11. 


Academy should purchase the Lyceum in the Strand to 
house it. When this offer was rejected, he determined 
to hold an exhibition of his own, and it is to this that the 
notice in the Sf James's Chronicle refers. The profits were 
to go to his old retainer, Ralph Kirkley, who had been 
in his service for nearly thirty years. For this reason the 
exhibition was officially known as Ralph's, which pro- 
voked humorous verses in the newspapers, some of which 
have been reprinted by Mr Whitley.^ 

In the collection of Rupert Colomb, Esq., now lent 
to the Royal Academy, is a crumpled and torn piece 
of paper which looks as if it had been rescued from the 
waste-basket. It has been incorrectly endorsed: "Note 
written by Sir J Reynolds for his 'Discourses','' but is 
almost certainly a discarded preface for the catalogue of 
"Ralph's Exhibition". 

Tho I have given the pamphlet [the] Title of Catalogue 
resonee the [spectator] will not find what by custom that little 
promises — an [encomium] applying all the epithets of praises 
upon every Picture which language affords on the con[trary] 
as this is intended for the . . . [students] of tjie Royal [Academy] 
as much care will be tak[en to] mention the defects of ever[y] 
Picture as pointing out the beauties, — Every Picture in this Room 
does possess some part of the Art worthy the attention of the 
Artist and it may [be] as just [to say] that every Picture has some 
defect what Picture in the wor[l]d unites in itself all excellen- 
cies The Art of Criticism — each criticism is to point those out 
in [the] surest way. Segnius iritant^ as for the authority of my 
opinion, I shall affect no modesty it may be said [that it] has been 
the business of my life, and I have had great opportunities, and 

^ Whitley, ii, 306 et seq. A newspaper cutting of these verses is among 
the Reynolds MSS. in the Royal Academy. The original MS. of Sir 
Joshua's advertisement for this exhibition, printed by Leslie and Taylor 
(ii, 604), is in the Yale University Library, the gift of Mr Gabriel 

" Segnius irritant animos demissa per aurem, 

Quam quas sunt oculis commissa fidelibus. Horace. 
Sir Joshua could have found this quotation in de Piles's notes to Du- 
fresnoy's y/r/ <?/ /*^/;7//>^ (Dryden's translation), London, 1716, %i. 


hope it will not be concluded because I cannot Paint my[se]lf in 

such a manner as to add authority — Cicero: quasi non ea prici- 

piam allius queae mihi ipsi desunt. , i -r. ^^ ^ ■^ 

^ ^ ^ Joshua Reyno[lds] 

The quotation from Cicero, incidentally, was used by 
Malone on the title-page of Sir Joshua's JVorks. 

Those who are interested in reading the catalogue of 
the exhibition may do so in the reprint supplied by Graves 
and Cronin. It is much more informatory than such 
publications usually are, but as projected was to have 
been even more complete. A long note on Bernini's 
Neptune,^ occupying two full folio pages in manuscript, 
is in the Royal Academy. When printed it was greatly 
compressed. The longest note in the catalogue concerns 
Correggio's Marriage of St Catherine, which Reynolds 
had brought at the sale of Bishop Newton's pictures. 
On the back of the painting a former owner had written : 
*'Questo quadretto d' Antonio da Correggio non possa 
mai per alcuna causa uscir di mia casa; et doppo me, 
andra al mio piu propinquo d'eta maggiore, et doppo 
quello, similm*^ ad altro il piu prossimo — et sic deinceps, 

10 Lelio d'Ippolito Guidiccioni mea manu. — In Roma 

1 1 di Luglioy Below this Sir Joshua wrote: **I so far 
subscribe to the above resolution of Sig^ Guidiccioni, 
that no money shall ever tempt me to part with this 
picture. J. Reynolds, April 17, 1790." In the Royal 
Academy is a page not in Sir Joshua's hand, containing 
notes on the Guidiccioni family and its relationship to 
Correggio. The writing resembles that of Dr Burney, and 
his connection with the m^anuscript is the more likely 
because of a reference in it to **the subject of anc^ &: 
modern music" and the mention of Tiraboschi and 
Quadrio. I have seen a facsimile of a letter Burney wrote 
at this time, in the postscript of which he adds: ** I have 
lately purchased the last, and only complete Edit, of 

^ For Sir Joshua's purchase and the subsequent history of this statue 
see Whitley^ ii, 181 et seq. 


Tiraboschi's Storia della letter atur a Italiana^ in ix vol\ 4^° . 
I had Quadrio before in vi voP. 4*°." It would seem then 
that Dr Burney's name should be added to the list of 
those who offered their services to Reynolds. 

Meanwhile Sir Joshua was experiencing a certain 
amount of opposition at the Club. For one reason or 
another he desired to increase the membership, but the 
candidates he nominated did not meet with the approval 
of all, and an election had to be unanimous. On 25 May, 
1790, he had proposed his friend the Earl of Carlisle, 
later ridiculed in English Bards and Scotch Reviewers. 
The nomination presumably derived from Carlisle's 
complimentary verses to Reynolds a few months earlier 
on the occasion of the president's resignation from the 
Academy. In any event his Lordship was rejected at the 
meeting on the ist of June. On the 14th of December 
following, Burgoyne was proposed by Boswell and 
seconded by Reynolds, but received three blackballs. 
The same evening Sir Joshua nominated Dr Blagden, 
secretary of the Royal Society and the only physician 
who suspected the true cause of Sir Joshua's ailment. 
When Blagden was rejected, Reynolds moved that one 
blackball should not exclude a candidate. A few weeks 
later he proposed Dr French Laurence but was again 
unsuccessful. He was equally unsuccessful in proposing 
Philip Metcalfe.^ This information I have thought worth 
giving as a possible explanation of the following manu- 
script fragment in my possession: 

You wonder men of great and distinguishd parts should love 
the society of plain and insipid men who can furnish only the Chit 
chat of the day You say [that in] their hours of relaxation from 
their more serious & weighty business they might as well relax 
in the company of men of wit, the answer is, could they without 
some degree of mortification hear wit without producing their 

^ Annals of the Club^ London, 19 14, 33 et seq.\ Windham's Diary, 
ed. Baring, 198, 201 . Farington's Diary, i, 96. Letters of James Boszcell, 
ed. Tinker, Oxford, 1924, ii, 409 et seq., 414, 418, 421 et seq. 


share without mortification If they do give their share, they must 
exert themselves as much perhaps as is required in their more 
serious business Such company therefore would not be a relaxa- 
tion, which is the thing required 

Is this the substance of a speech in behalf of some can- 
didate for membership in the Club ? Sir Joshua's nominees 
were frequently men with whom one could relax, and the 
opposition he met with towards the end of his life may 
have led him to put on paper his apology for *' plain and 
insipid men". 

In the Club and out, the major topic of conversation 
at this time was the revolution in France. Two of the 
most violent opponents of it, Burke and Malone, were 
the two men in whose company Sir Joshua was most 
frequently found. He "was lavish in his encomiums 
upon" Burke's Reflections^ which he read before the 
manuscript had been sent to the printer, and he is highly 
praised by Malone "for the rectitude of his judgment 
concerning those pernicious doctrines, that were made 
the basis of that Revolution".^ It would seem that he 
once thought of writing an article on the subject. Mary 
Palmer's fair copy of the fifteenth discourse has received 
mention above. On the verso of two pages of this appears 
the following fragment, which must have been written 
early in 1 79 1, soon after the discourse was printed. The 
beginning of the essay has not survived, but he has 
apparently been arguing that the downfall of the ancien 
regime was caused by a love of ornament : 

[The Bourbons devoted their attention] to the splendor of the 
foliage, to the neglect of the stirring the earth about the roots 

They cultivated only those arts which could add splendor to 
the nation, to the neglect of those whicn supported it — They 
neglected Trade & substantial Manufacture, for the sake of 
supporting the large looking Glass Manufacture the Tapestry 
of the Goblins^ and the Seve Manufacture which was a loosing 
trade and could not have continued a year without the aid of the 
^ WorkSy i, cii. ^ Cf. post. Appendix III, p. 270 n. 4. 


Crown — The trade of France was at last reduced to mere 
baubles, as the Opera according to my first Comparison is reduced 
to mere sound. 

The people who require Baubles are few and consequently 
little revenue is acquired to the general purse, the nation can no 
longer go on. but does it follow that a total revolution is neces- 
sary that because we have given ourselves up too much to the 
ornaments of life, we will now have none at all, or according to the 
comparison which I first set out with of the Opera, that as sound 
has improperly got the better of sence we will now have no 
sound at at all 

The splendor of a Court as of Individuals who compose that 
Court is to a Nation what lace is to an individual — 

Some notes written on folio 52 in the same collection 
probably pertain to this essay: 

no optional Virtue, if no riches how can they shew their contempt 
of them, pageantry and power well knowing that sound morality 
and the social duties could securely rest on no other foundation 

Soon after this Sir Joshua was involved in a contro- 
versy which caused him once more to resort to his pen. 
He had purchased a miniature of Milton by Cooper and 
had exhibited it with some pride. Its authenticity was 
questioned by Lord Hailes, "one of the best philologists 
in Great Britain, who has written papers in The Worlds 
and a variety of other works in prose and in verse, both 
Latin and English".^ His arguments he published in 
a letter printed in the Gentleman s Magazine of June, 
1790. Sir Joshua's answer, published the following 
month in the same periodical, was a letter dated 
15 June and signed "R.J." This in turn provoked a 
further response on the part of Lord Hailes, and the 
matter was then dropped. A year later, shortly after 
Sir Joshua's death, the editor of the magazine acknow- 
ledged that the letter signed "R.J." had been written 
by the painter.^ 

^ Boswell's Life, v, 48. 

^ Gentleman's Magax.ine, Ixi, 399 et seq., 603 et seq,, 885 et seq.\ 
Ixii, 1 1 54. 


Little time elapsed before his illness became acute. 
In this period his literary activities were limited to a 
thorough revision of his Discourses, And the care with 
which this was done is only one more indication that he 
expected posthumous fame as a man of letters. In 
revising he was once more aided by the ever-willing 
Malone, whom he had already chosen as his literary 
executor. Perhaps it was on the five-mile walk which 
they took in September, when travelling from Beacons- 
field to London, that they discussed the possibility of a 
new edition. As early as 1788, when the letter to Jansen 
was written. Sir Joshua had projected an octavo edition 
of the later discourses as a companion volume to that of 
1778. After this had appeared he hoped to supervise the 
publication of his complete works — not only the Dis- 
courses^ but the letters to th^ Idler ^ the notes to Dufresnoy, 
and the journal to the Low Countries, which had never 
been printed. It was at this time, while going over what 
he had written, that he found great difficulty in making 
up a complete set of the discourses. 

The alterations made were numerous, too numerous 
and in many cases too unimportant to merit a detailed 
examination. To this statement there are certain impor- 
tant exceptions. Of these the most notable are additions 
he was led to make from re-reading Bacon's Essays. One 
of them is found in the third discourse, in which he 
disagrees with Bacon's ideas on painting as expressed 
in the essay on beauty. The two paragraphs added 
occupied three pages in manuscript, the last two of which 
may be seen in facsimile in Cotton's Gleanings. At the 
same time he expanded the twelfth discourse by taking 
exception to a statement Bacon made in the dedication 
to his Essays.^ 

'^ Works, i, 60 et seq.\ ii, 87 <?/ seq. Cotton's Gleanings, 210 et seq. 
Cotton seems to have been unaware that what he gives in facsimile was 
a later addition of Sir Joshua's. 


The only other lengthy additions are to be found in the 
seventh discourse. One of these is given by Cotton in 
facsimile. The first of the three pages is headed in Sir 
Joshua's hand: '*p. 280 after the word conduct^'' which 
is a reference to the edition of 1778. Here a paragraph 
on Poussin is replaced with the two in the facsimile.^ 
This he has done in order to enforce his observations on 
the defects of Poussin by specifying three pictures in 
private collections which he had not seen when he first 
wrote the lecture. The other addition relates to the 
allegorical pictures of Rubens, which in those days were 
in the Luxemburg Galleries. For defending these he 
had probably been criticized by his friends. Johnson, we 
know, had stoutly asserted: '* I had rather see the portrait 
of a dog that I know, than all the allegorical paintings 
they can shew me in the world." This was said not 
because of his apathy towards art but because of his 
attitude towards allegory and mythology, which to him 
were "tedious and oppressive". Perhaps some argu- 
ment over Rubens's allegory led Sir Joshua to add the 
two paragraphs of explanation, and he must have had his 
friend in mind when he began the second with: "What 
has been so often said to the disadvantage of allegorical 
poetry, — that it is tedious, and uninteresting, — cannot 
with the same propriety be applied to painting, where 
the interest is of a different kind."^ 

Some of the minor expansions are noteworthy, 
showing as they do that the writer was striving to become 
more classical. An added refinement to the thirteenth 
discourse is the inclusion of the rhetorical question: 
"quid enim deformius, quam scenam in vitam trans- 
ferre.f^'^S A similar sort of refinement occurs in the 

^ Works, i, 207 et seq. Cotton's Gleanings, 2\o et seq. 
^ Works, i, 214; Lives of the English Poets, ed. Hill, Oxford, 1905, 
i, 213; Johnsonian Miscellanies, ii, 15. 
3 Works, ii, 133. Cf. ante, p. no. 


preceding lecture, where he alters a phrase to make it 
sound more epic: "as the traveller despairs ever to arrive 
at the end of his journey, when the whole extent of the 
road which he is to pass is at once displayed to his view." 
Another simile in the same discourse has been improved. 
Of the compositions of pittori improvvisatori he had 
written that they ''appear, as we say sometimes of 
flowery speeches, to have no ideas annexed to the words ' ' . 
This he has altered to "like those flowery speeches that 
we sometimes hear, which impress no new ideas on the 

In some cases whole paragraphs were omitted. The 
longest passage of this sort was one of four paragraphs 
in the eighth discourse, struck out possibly because it 
was discouraging to the young student, possibly because 
it was a mere repetition of what had already been said. 
In the same lecture he has deleted a long sentence 
slurring Raphael's Cartoons because they lacked "orna- 
mental qualities", which, though they may be classed 
among "the lesser elegancies of the Art", should not 
be neglected by the normal painter. A paragraph in the 
tenth discourse in which the author points out that 
elaborate pieces of music are properly appreciated only 
after long study is absent in the revised version, perhaps 
because it had been echoed in the thirteenth and fifteenth 
discourses. He has deleted a passage in the twelfth dis- 
course in which he remarks that it would have been' ' safer 
to have amused or rather abused" his audience with a 
rhapsody about genius and inspiration, rather than 
"point out the more humble means by which Art is 

^ Works, ii, 8 1 , 85. The steps which led to this akeration have been 
preserved at the foot of a page of reading notes to the edition of 1778, 
printed below (Appendix I, p. 216). His first cast was "like mere 
flowery speeches which neither have nor are intended to impress on the 
mind any new Ideas". Beneath this is a second effort, which is almost the 
same as the phrase finally adopted. It begins: "like flowery speeches 
such as we sometimes hear." 


acquired". And in the same lecture he has left out the 
first part of a footnote on Masaccio, probably because 
he considered it superfluous. 

There are many rearrangements of words and phrases, 
and in one place he has shifted two paragraphs.^ Many 
misprints, particularly of names of painters, have been 
corrected, and there are as well changes in the spelling 
of some common words. In this connection the most 
significant is the addition of ^ to words ending in <:, such 
as criticy mechanic^ etc. One of Langton's anecdotes, 
which was first printed in the second edition of the Lije 
of Johnson^ Sir Joshua doubtless read while helping 
Boswell ''improve" his work. Johnson is there quoted 
as saying : * ' Imlac in * Rasselas ', I spelt with a <: at the end, 
because it is less like English, which should always have 
the Saxon k added to the <:." BoswelFs note to this 
impressively strengthens it. "I hope", he writes, "the 
authority of the great Master of our language will stop 
that curtailing innovation, by which we see critic^ public^ 
&c. frequently written instead of crittck, publick^ &c."^ 
Surely the fact that Sir Joshua refrained from this cur- 
tailing innovation and took the trouble to add k to 
numerous words of his which had previously appeared in 
print is more than a coincidence. If there was anyone in 
the Johnsonian circle who would endeavour to obey the 
rules laid down by the master, it was the first president 
of the Royal Academy. 

When Malone, then, put on the title-page of his 
edition of Sir Joshua's Works that the text was ''from 
his revised Copies, (with his last Corrections and Addi- 
tions,)" we know that he was telling the truth. What 
the editor did was to suggest textual changes to the 
author. What the editor may have done was to repunc- 
tuate and alter the author's haphazard method of capitali- 
zation. He took much more liberty, as will be seen, 
^ Works, ii, 19. ^ Boswell's LifCy iv, 31. 


with the unfinished writings which he used in the 
memoir prefixed to the Works^ but for this there was 
ample excuse. Sir Joshua had not passed them for 
pubHcation, and an accurate transcript of his manuscripts 
would have been unfair at the time. On the Discourses^ 
the papers for the Idler^ the notes to Mason's translation 
of Dufresnoy — on these, figuratively at least, Sir Joshua 
had written ** imprimatur". 

The revision was made in September, 1791. Once 
this had been accomplished the author was unable to 
take further interest in his writings. In October Fanny 
Burney, newly released from her service at court, called 
on him, finding him wearing a bandage over one eye 
and a green half-bonnet shading the other. *' He seemed 

serious even to sadness, though extremely kind The 

expectation of total blindness depresses him inexpress- 
ibly.*'^ He no longer attended meetings at the Academy 
and announced that he did not seek re-election as presi- 
dent, fearing to put his eyes * ' to the severe tryal of the 
business".^ Early in November he made his will, ex- 
pecting, as he remarks in the opening sentence, that he 
would "shortly be deprived of sight". Several weeks 
later Boswell reported that **he broods over the dismal 
apprehension of becoming quite blind. He has been 
kept so low as to diet that he is quite relaxed and de- 
sponding. He who used to be looked upon as perhaps 
the most happy man in the world is now as I tell you." 
And in a letter written at the end of the following January 
he refers to **the visible wearing away of Sir Joshua ".3 
On the 9th of February Windham called on his dying 
friend, finding Sir George Baker, the physician, there. 
"No hopes ! " he wrote in his diary, as he had done when 

* Diary and Letters of Madame d''Arblayy ed. Dobson, London, 1905, 
V, 41. 

^ Letters, 228. 

3 Letters of James Boswelly ed. Tinker, Oxford, 1924, ii, 441, 442. 


Johnson was dying; **yet*', he continues, '* I have urged 
Miss Palmer to what I ought to have urged sooner — a 
consultation."^ He then went to Burke's to make the 
same suggestion. The consultation was held, but too 
late. Sir Joshua lived another two weeks, at times in pain, 
but for the most part ''tolerably easy", and died on 
23 February, 1792. 

Little more need be recorded. As literary executor 
Malone undertook to bring out Sir Joshua's writings 
at once, although he was still employed on his Shake- 
speare. Ten days after the funeral he told Lord Charle- 
mont that Reynolds had consulted with him in September 
about an edition of the Discourses: 

we revised them then, so they are now ready for the press. It was 
his intention to add to them Mr. Mason's translation of Du 
Fresnoy, with sir Joshua's notes, which Mason has consented to; 
and I mean to print the whole, together with three "Idlers", 
written by our friend on the subject of painting, in a quarto 
volume. About five hundred copies will be sufficient, and a small 
number of the second volume of the "Discourses" must be 
printed for those who bought the first. After the quarto shall 
be sold the whole will be re-printed in three volumes octavo. As 
to the odd numbers of his "Discourses", which you want in 
quarto, it will be impossible to get them, being long out of print; 
and he himself found great difficulty in making up a complete set 
when we revised them.^ 

Malone's task at first sight seemed a simple one. The 
revised Discourses were * ' ready for the press ". No altera- 
tions had been made in the letters to the Idler , the text 
for which was probably the little pamphlet now in the 
possession of Dr D. Nicol Smith, which Sir Joshua had 
given Malone three years earlier. The revised copy of 
the Journey to Flanders, now in the British Museum, 
needed little editing. As for the Art of Painting, Mason 
wrote to Malone in May, 1792, that he hoped to send 

^ Windham's Diary, ed. Baring, London, 1866, 243. 

^ Hist. MSS. Commission, xiii, 8, 1894, (Charlemont) ii, 189. 



the editor an improved text, but his habitual laziness 
interfered. What consumed much of Malone's time, 
however, was the memoir which he prefixed to the 
writings. In preparing this he examined the numerous 
fragmentary manuscripts which Sir Joshua had discarded 
but not destroyed. Some of these he incorporated in his 
memoir, taking great liberties with them. As an illus- 
tration one sentence will suffice. Sir Joshua had written : 

The Keeper of the Vatican told me that it has frequently 
happend, that after he has attended a Company and even Artists 
through the Rooms when he was about taking his leave has been 
asked why he has not shewn them what they came principally 
to see the works of Raffiele that he has then led them back to 
the rooms which they had passd before 

Malone, quoted by Northcote, Leslie and Taylor, Birk- 
beck Hill, and others, has printed this as follows: 

It has frequently happened, as I was informed by the keeper of the 
Vatican, that many of those whom he had conducted through 
the various apartments of that edifice, when about to be dismissed, 
have asked for the works of RafFaelle, and would not believe that 
they had already passed through the rooms where they are 
preserved; so little impression had those performances made on 

Doubtless Sir Joshua would have preferred * ' the various 
apartments of that edifice" to so humble a term as "the 
Rooms", but it is at least worth noting that he was not 
the author of the phrase. The text of what Sir Joshua had 
prepared for the press was faithfully reprinted, but the 
passages in the memoir said to be from his pen are what 
he might have written, not what he wrote. It is hardly 
necessary to add that no one could have performed this 
task as well as Malone. 

Sir Joshua's Works were not published until the spring 
of 1 797. Bibliographers like Lowndes and Allibone give 
the date 1794, and have been copied without question 

^ Works, i, xiv; cf. post. Appendix II, p. 246 et seq. (XV, 12). 


by many. Austin Dobson, for example, followed them, 
and even such a standard work as that by Graves and 
Cronin echoes the same mistake. Benoit comes nearer the 
truth when he gives the date 1794-7, basing it perhaps 
on the information contained in a most untrustworthy 
bibliography, The Universal Catalogue of Books on Art. 

The confusion may have arisen from remarks in con- 
temporary letters. A month or two after Sir Joshua had 
been buried, arrangements with Cadell the publisher 
were made to reprint Mason's translation. In August 
Malone wrote to Charlemont: "what with my quarto 
Shakspeare, sir Joshua Reynolds' works, and Jephson's 
* Roman portraits', which he has put under my care, my 
hands are quite full. Neither the Shakspeare nor Jeph- 
son's work are yet in the press." The inference then is 
that Sir Joshua's writings were in the press at this time. 
In a lecture read at the Academy, 18 February, 1793, 
Barry refers to them as **now printing", and in July 
Boswell makes a similar statement.^ But 1794 arrives, 
and the work is not yet finished. 

In November the editor writes: "I have been going 
on very slowly with his works, and am almost come to 
an end. I hope to be able to have them ready for publica- 
tion by the first of the new year." Months go by. In 
June, 1796, Sir William Forbes hopes Sir Joshua's 
''elegant writings" will be prefaced with an account of 
his life and character, and a month later the ever op- 
timistic Malone announces that ' * dear sir Joshua's works 
shall certainly appear before Christmas". On the ist 
of December Frances Reynolds told her sister that the 
book was ready for the press, but another five months 
elapsed before it was completed. The memoir is dated 
25 March; on the 2nd of April Farington, calling on the 

^ Hist. MSS. Commission!, xiii, 8, 1894, (Charlemont) ii, 197; Works 
of James Barry, London, 1809, i, 557 n; Letters of James Boswell^ 
ed. Tinker, Oxford, 1924, ii, 455. 


editor, was shown some of the proof sheets, and at the 
end of the month the book was finally published. It is 
first advertised in the London Chronicle o^ I'i A'prW^ 1797.^ 

One of the first to receive a copy was Edmund Burke, 
who thanks the editor for it on 4 May, remarking that he 
has not only read the memoir and Flemish Journal^ which 
were new to him, but some of the Discourses as well. 
Another interesting association copy of this edition is 
the one in my possession. It was once owned by John 
Ruskin and is filled with marginalia in his hand. The 
majority of these serve as a sort of outline of what 
Reynolds was writing. Some are not unlike Blake's in 
being adversely critical or sarcastic. ' ' False ' ', for example, 
appears a number of times. When Sir Joshua advises 
his students to consider "how a Michael Angelo or 
a Raffaelle would have treated" a given subject, Ruskin 's 
dry retort is ** I cannot judge", and the opening sentence 
of the fourth discourse, appraising the value of art, elicits 
this comment: **How much systematized by me!" 

Pasted in the fly-leaf of Ruskin's copy is an un- 
published note written by Malone to his publishers: 

Please to send two Copies of Sir J. Reynolds's Works in boards to 
Mr Malone's, N° 58, Queen Anne St. East — They are for 
Lady Inchiquin, and to be charged to the account of Copy money 
of the Work. — May 1 8. 

Perhaps one of these two copies is that which is in the 
Royal Academy. It was given by Lady Inchiquin and 
is inscribed in words which appropriately serve to bring 
this study to a close: 

The Countess of Inchiquin requests that the President and 
Council of the Royal Academy will be pleased to accept of these 
volumes, and to give them a place in their Library as a slight 
memorial of their first President, The Author. 

^ Hist. MSS. Commission, xiii, 8, 1894, (Charlemont) ii, 253, 277; 
Catalogue of the Johnsonian Collection of R. B. Adam, Buffalo, 1921, 
under Forbes; unpublished letter to Elizabeth Johnson in my possession; 
Farington's Diary, i, 205. 


[N.B. The first three appendices contain (i) notes made by Reynolds 
on his reading, (2) manuscripts pertaining to the discourses, and (3) Sir 
Joshua's account of his quarrel with the Academy. I have attempted to 
adhere to his spelling and punctuation and have included much that 
is crossed out in the manuscripts. What Sir Joshua deleted is here printed 
in italics \ what he has underlined is printed in capital letters^ 



■'By reading the thoughts of others we learn to think." 

Sixth Discourse. 


Extracts from Pliny 

Pliny born at Comum now calld Como situated upon the Lake 
Larius, or Lago di Como in the Dutchy of Milan. 

I know no difference between your house and my own, than 
that I am more carefully attended in the former than the latter. 
Pliny. Letter 4. 

to one who was reproachd with dispising the Eloquence of his 
own age/ I was free to own I said, that I endeavoured to imitate 
Cicero, and was by no means contented with taking my example 
from modern Eloquence; for I looked upon it as a very absurd 
thing not to copy the best models of every kind, to go to the 
fountain Cicero. Let. 5*^ 

to an unreasonable demand/ I will choose that which will 
satisfy, your judgment as well as your inclination For I do not 
look upon myself obliged to consider so much what you at present 
desire, as what a man of your worthy character will always 
approve. L. 7*^^. 

nothing could be more to my purpose than to explain at large 
the motives of my intended bounty, for by this means I accus- 
tomed my mind to generous sentiments; grew more enamor'd of 
the lovely forms by frequent attention to them. 

I thought my honest intentions would be the more meri- 
torious, as they should appear to proceed, not from a sudden start 

^ MS. a half-sheet (folded to make four pages), inserted in the Common- 
place Book in my possession. Cf. ante, p. 9. 


of temper, but from the dictates of cool and deliberate reflection. 
L. 8th 

The pleasures of the senses are so far from wanting the ora- 
torical arts to recommend them that we stand in need of all the 
powers of eloquence to moderate and restrain their influence. 
Lett. 8th. 

A friend of Plinys desires him to use his interest to get the 
hearing of his cause adjourn'd to another day on account of a 
Dream. Dacier thinks there is as much temerity in never giving 
giving credit to dreams, as there is superstition in allways doing 
so. It appears to me, says [he,] that the true medium between 
these two extremes is to treat them as we would a known Liar, 
we are sure he most usually relates falshoods, however, nothing 
hinders but he may sometimes speak truth. 

Notes on Letter 1 8th 

Every man naturally favors his own discoveries, and when he 
hears an argument made use of which had before occurr'd to 
himself, will certainly embrace it as extremely convincing, the 
Orator therefore should so adapt himself to his audience as to 
throw out something to every one of them, that he may receive 
and approve as his own peculiar thought so the slightest cir- 
cumstance often produces the most important consequences, in 
pleading push at everything, spread out a large variety of matter 
rather than insist on one point only like so many different seeds 
thrown on a soil you are unacquainted with in order to reap 
from thence whatever may happen to hit Letter 20 in a Book 
of sentences some approve and mark one some another 

A dear bargain is always disagreeable, particularly as it's a 
reflection upon a purchasers judgment 

An inhabitant of the city o[f] Cadiz was so struck with the 
illustrious Chara[c]ter of Livy that he travell'd to Rome on 
purpose to see that great Genius and as soon as he had satisfied 
his curiosity returned home again. 

We are infinitely more affected with what we hear than what 
we read, Pliny, let. 3^. B.2^. (and what we see than what we 
hear ! meus.) 

A 1000 sesterce is £S sterling, one sesterce i penny 3 far- 


things, any one possessed of 100 000 sesterses is a Decurio 
& every citizen whose entire fortunes amounted to 400 000 
sesterces that is ;£3229 of our money was inroUed of course in 
the list [of] knights who were considerd as a middle order be- 
tween the senators and people yet without any other distinction 
than the privilege of wearing a gold ring which was a peculiar 
badge of their order. 

The Antients thought every thing that concern'd an orator 
worthy of their attention, even to his very dress, Ovid mentions 
the habit as well as the air and mien of Germanicus as expressive 
of his Eloquence 

Dum. . .silens andstat, status est vultusq[ue] diserti 
Spemq[ue] decens docta[e] vocis amictus habet. 

Pliny after having bestowd great praises on the extraordinary 
genius of Iseus intreats his friend Nepos to come to room [i.e.y 
Rome] if for no other reason than to have the pleasure to say, 
I once heard him, (he had said before that a man must have a very 
ineligant illiterate and indolent, I had almost said a very mean turn 
of mind not to think whatever relates to a science so entertaining 
so noble and so polite worthy of his curiosity 



We Christians who have such ample faith ourselves will not 
allow the Heathens to believe even their own Religion 

Men are wonderfully happy in a faculty of deceiving themselves, 
whenever they set heartily about it, and a very small foundation 
of any passion will serve us not only to act it well, but even to 
work our selves into it beyond our own reach. 

If we had an Inquisition erected to restrain the Poetical Licence 
particularly that of love, as set forth by the Poets and to forbid 

^ MS. Commonplace Book kept in 1 7 5 2, in the Metropolitan Museum 
of New York. Cf. ante, p. 10. 


to the people to hearken to any Love tale Ballad &c. we should 
see a new Arcadia arise out of this persecution^ 

Had the Jews taken the fancy to act such Puppet-shews in his 
Contempt, as at this hour the Papists are acting in his Honour; 
I am apt to think they might possibly have done our Religion 
more harm, than by all their other ways of Severity 

Mi sono spesso miravegliato di videre uomini di judicio cosi 
notabilmente consternati alia vicinanza di qualche cosa quasi 
ridicola sopra certi soggetti come se avessero dubitato delloro 
proprio judicio.^ perche qual ridiculo puo stare contra la regione? 
O come puo qualche d'uno della minima giusteza de[i] pensieri 
puo suffrire un ridicolo mal allocato [supra, applicato] niente 
e puo di piu ridicolo di questo stesso, il Volgo, veramente puo 
enghiottire ogni sorti di sordida burla qual se sia menchioniria 
a bufoneria ma besognia essere piu bello e piu vero spirito che 
piaccia alliagli uomini di senso e d'educazione.3 come dunque si 
puo fare que che noi siamo cosi codardi neP ragionare e cosl 
timidi di stare alia prova del ridiculo? O diciamo noi i sogetti 
sono troppo grave — forse cosi e ma prima vediamo se siano 
realmente tale grave o no: perche nella maniera che noi con- 
cepiamo, possano per caso essere gravissime e di peso in nella 
nostra imaginatione, ma assai ridicoli ed impertinenti nella loro 
natura. la Gravitk e ver la propria essenza dell' impostura. non 
solamente fa che noi sbagliamo nelle [originally negl] altri cose, 
ma e capace [originally capache] quasi di continuo d'ingannare se 
stesso. perche nella commune condotta, quanto e difficile al 

^ In the MS. this extract is numbered 20, which refers to the pagina- 
tion of his edition of the Characteristicks. Because so many of the so-called 
editions are page-for-page reprints, it is not possible to identify his 

^ This sentence and those that follow should not properly be classed 
as reading notes, but since Reynolds is merely translating another part 
of the same essay and since the translation was made at the time the 
other notes were taken, I have thought it best to include the passage 

3 The next two MS. lines, which are at the bottom of folio 9, are 
crossed out, because a sentence of text had been omitted. They are 
reintroduced in their proper place. The tenth folio is blank, and the 
translation continues at the top of the eleventh. 


caractere grave di conservarsi longo tempo fori dei limiti della 
formalita noi non possiamo mai essere troppo grave, se noi 
possiamo solamente assicurarci [originally assicurarsi] che noi 
siamo tali ne possiamo essere troppo grave mai troppo onorare o 
riverire qual si sia cosa per grave se siamo certi che la cosa sia 
grave, come la concepiamo, il principal punto e di tinguere 
sempre la vera gravita dalla falsa: / e questo solamente pu6 essere, 
portando sempre la regola con noi, ed applicandola liberamente 
non solo alia cose intorno a noi ma ver^ noi stessi, Perche se 
per disgrazia perdiamo la misura in noi medesimi la perderemo 
subito in ogni altra cosa Ora che regola o misura e nel mondo 
che di considerare il vero temperamento delle cose per trovare 
quelle che sono veramente seriose, e quelle che sono ridicole, e 
come questo puo far si se non applicando il ridicolo per vedere 
se questo stara? ma se noi temiamo d'applicare questa regola in 
qual si sia cosa qual sicurta possiamo noi avere contra I'impostura 
di formalita in ogni cosa? abiamo [originally 2bh\2im.o] concesso noi 
stessi d'esser Formalisti in un punto e la medema Formalita puo 
regolarci, come piace, in tutte le altre cose 

Non e in ogni disposizione che noi siamo resicapaci di giudicare 
delle cose bisogna prima di giudicare del nostro proprio tempera- 
mento, e conforme, di tutte le altre cose che cadono sotto il 
nostro giudicio, ma non bisogna mai che noi pretendiamo di 
giudicare delle cose o del nostro temperamento in giudicarle 
quando noi abiamo [originally abbiamo] dato abbandonato i 
[originally il] nostri dritti preliminarii di jiu giudicio, e sotto una 
presumzione di gravita, abbiamo concesso noi stessi essere i piu 
ridicoli, ed ammirare [originally di admirare] profondamente le 
piu ridicole cose della natura, al meno per quelche sappiamo, 
Imperoche avendo resoluto di non provar mai, non possiamo mai 
essere sicuri...^ 

Questo, Signore posso sicuramente affirmare essere una cosa 
cosi vera in se stessa, e cosi ben nota per venta. per gli dagl'astuti 

^ Blot in MS. Probably "verso"; Shaftesbury had written: "freely 
applying it not only to the things about us, but to ourselves". 

^ Reynolds here omits the quotation from Horace given by Shaftes- 


formalisti del secolo che possano meglio soffrire che la loro im- 
postura sia sgridata con tutta ramarezza e veemenza imaginabile^ 
Tun' estremitk in ambidue modi. 

Era ne'tempi passati la sapienza di alcune nazione saggie il 
soffrire che il popolo fosse pazo quanto gli piaceva, e no di mai 
punir seriosamente [originally seriamente] il quel che meritava 
[originally serviva] solomente d'esser burlato [originally solo 
burlarsene] e che dopo tutto puo era meglio curato con quel 
innocenta remedio, so vi sono certi Inclination! nel [originally 
nell] genere umano le quali necessarimente devono sfogarsi. la 
mente Umana ed il corpo sono ambidue naturalmente sogetti 
a movimenti : e come vi sono st ane fermentazioni nel sangue che 
in multi corpi iansario uno scarico straordinario, cosi ancora nella 
ragione vi sono heteroginei particole che besogna [originally 
besognia] scacciar via per la fermentatzione. 


The Dog that foUow'd Tobit is made mention of, twice c. 5. 
v 16. So they went forth both, and the young mans dog with 
them. c. II. V. 4 So they went their way and the dog went 
after them. Reflex. A great beauty and simplicity and gives an 
air of probability to the story. 

Then Raguel said unto him, thou art the Son of an honest and 
good man: Reflex, a most noble character expressed in the 
plainest terms. 

When Raguel and Edna gave their daughter to be wife to 
Tobias, she wept, and Edna receiv'd the tears of her daughter, 
and said unto her. Be of good comfort, my daughter, the Lord of 
heaven and earth give thee joy for this thy sorrow, be of good 
comfort my daughter: C. 7. v 17. 18. Reflex. Her weeping 
upon her first being given to marriage is extremely natural, and 

^ This is the last word on the fourteenth leaf. The leaf immediately 
following has been removed, and what is now the fifteenth begins with 
the concluding words of the paragraph. 

^ MS. Commonplace Book in my possession. 


I believe it very seldom happens that the Bride does not weep 
upon her first entring unto that state, they weep upon con- 
sidering whether or no they are about altering their condition for 
the best whether they shall be happy or miserable, they con- 
sider likewise that all when they marry propose happiness to 
themselves and that how few obtain it, all these reflexions crowd 
upon them at once and in one Hurry of thought, weep, because 
their minds are too full to wait the slow expression of words. 

Tobias's Pray'r the night that he was married is noble, at the 
end of it he has these words. And now O Lord I take not this my 
Sister for Lust, but uprightly: therefore mercifully ordain that 
we may become both aged together. And she said with him, 

The exclamation of Tobias's Mother, when she imagin'd him 
dead is very natural. Now care I for nothing, my son, since I 
have let thee go, the light of mine eyes. To whom Tobit said. 
Hold thy peace, take no care for he is safe. But she said. Hold 
Thy peace, and deceive me not; my son is dead, and she went 
out every day in the way that they went. 

Tobias when he came home went in rejoicing & told his 
Father the great things that had happend to him in 

They were very gratefuU to their guide (whom they took for 
a man) in offering him half of all that they had brought. 

Scriptura. Ecclesiasticus 

(speaking of wisdom) The Lord created her, and saw her, 
and number'd her, and poured her out upon all his works, 
(cited by the Spectator or Tat)^ 

A Patient man will bear for a time and afterward joy shall 
spring up unto him. He will hide his words for a time and the 
lips of many shall declare his wisdom. Whatsoever is brought 
upon thee, take cheerfully, and be patient when thou art changed 
to a low estate. 

^ The nearest parallel to this which I have found is in Spectator 
no. 225. 


For Gold is tried in the fire and acceptable men in the furnace 
of adversity.^ 

speaking of Wisdom / At the first she will walk with him by 
crooked ways, and bring fear and dread upon him, and torment 
him. with her discipline, until she may trust his soul, and try him 
by her laws. Then will she return the straight way unto him, and 
comfort him, and shew him her secrets. 

Accept no person against thy soul and let not the reverence 
of any man cause thee to fall. 

In no wise speak against the truth, but be abashed of the error 
of thine ignorance. 

Strive for the truth unto death and the Lord shall fight for 



By action our fibres grow continually weaker and weaker and 
would soon be unfit to perform their function were they not as 
constantly repair'd as diminishd, and wherever the Fibres are in 
a state of Relaxion (as they are when we are asleep) the pores 
being open'd then are they in the fittest condition to receive and 
be replenishd with new mat[t]er, so that as waking is the time 
of spending so sleeping is the time of recruiting./ hence we may 
observe the necessity of sleeping and why it makes a person fat./ 
Hence the necessity of the circulation of the blood, and of taking 
in food, for if either of these were wanting, there would be no 
means left of repairing their loss sustained by their daily contrac- 
tion,/ So that if a man would not destroy his health, his exercise 
should be proportiond to his eating and sleeping./ 

^ On the opposite page Reynolds wrote: "Calamity is the touchstone 
of a brave mind. Seneca." 

^ MS. Commonplace Book in my possession. Wainewright's treatise 
was published in 1707 and went through a number of editions which 
were page-for-page reprints. The passages Reynolds transcribed are to 
be found on pp. 149 et seq.^ 153, and 155^/ seq. 


Eat and drink till hunger and thirst be no longer troublesome, 
yet as Hippocrates says the consequence[s] of a slender Diet, are 
more fatal than of one that is more plentiful, tis dangerous for 
one in health to live of too spare diet. 

It is observ'd that men of a Pale complexion live longer than 
than those who have one more florid, and with a low pulse than 
with one that is strong. The reason is, the Humours of the last 
sort are more volatile, and so more susceptable of any impression 
from external Agents: Their solids also being more tense and 
rigid, will upon all occasions make their vibrations more quick 
and strong, and so dispose the body to all sorts of Inflammatory 
distempers; besides being more subject to break by their greater 
Tensity, they will be liable to a more speedy decay by their great 

Wainwrights nonnaturals. 


Speaking of Plays 

To check too much the natural inclinations may be compar'd 
to a man who too severely curbs a generous horse which inrages 
him till he throws him from his back./ Not to deprive a man of all 
pleasures but guide & moderate them by the reins of reason./ 
Tis folly to suspect the efficacy of a Medicine because 'tis 
agreeable to the tast./ To make virtue consist in gloomy looks 
and that whatever is joyous and cheerfull must be wicked; 

To read and get by heart the comic and tragic poets makes a 
man eloquent in his speech & stile, we acquire a gracefuU 
manner of speaking and acting in publick, we throw aside the 
boyish fears and discard the clownish bashfullness we accustom 
our selves to a distinct clear manner of speaking a courtly and 
gracefuU gesture./ 

when at any time you need relaxation from severer cares let 
this be your amusement, (viz. acting of Plays) 

^ MS. Commonplace Book in my possession. 




A beautiefuU Prospect delights the Soul as much as a demon- 
stration, and a description in Poetry will please more readers than 
a Chapter in Seneca. Cor. a cheerfuU goodnatured man stands 
as fair a chance to Please in conversation as the wise and learned 

The Picture of a Citizen full of busieness How d'ye do, you 
see Fm busy, where are you going I'll meet you any where, 
Chas! we are going into the Thames, P. well I'll meet you in 
the Thames. 

In throughing the stocking think of the Tombs in West- 
minster Abby 

After you have baisse you may give me another for it if 
you will 

It puts me in mind of a good story of a Trumpeter Hor. 

Happy is the man that plants Cabbages / Rabelais 

dont look quite so decent seemly 

co[m]me c'est a vous que j'ecris, c'est ^ dire a un homme 
instruit de toutes les belles connoissances je ne m'arresterai point 
sur beaucoup des choses qu'il m'eust fallu etablir avant que 
d'entrer en matiere. 


Ergo fungar vice cotisi acutum 

Reddere quae ferrum valet, exsors ipsa secandi. 
Munus & officium nil scribens ipse docebo: 
Unde parentur opes, quid alat formetq[ue] Poeta 
Quid deceat, quid non; qu6 virtus, quo ferat error. 
Hor. de arte Poetica. line 304. 
I only serve to whet that Wit in you 
To which I willingly resign my claim. 
Yet without Writing, I may teach to write 
Tell what the duty of a Poet is; 
Wherein his Wealth and Ornament consist 
And how he may be form'd and how improv'dj 
what fit, what not, what excellent or ill; 



E'n his Face begetteth Laughter 

Tis aurum palpabile, if not potabile. 

A Beauty ripe as Harvest ! 

Whose skin is whiter than a Swan all over! 

Than silver snow or lillies! a soft Lip, 

would tempt you to eternity of kissing! 

And Flesh that melteth in the touch to Blood 

Bright as your Gold & lovely as your Gold. 

He's dead. Sir; Why I hope 
you thought him not immortal 

He that would write but such a Fellow would be 
thought to feign extremely, if not maliciously. 

— gaz'd upon with Goatish Eyes? 

— I can feel 
a whimsie i my Blood: (I know not how) 
Success hath made me wanton. I could skip out 
of my skin — 

would she were taking now her tedious leave 

Now by my Spurs the symbol of my knighthood. 



Un auteur cherche vainement k se faire admirer par son ouv- 
rage. Les sots admirent quelque fois, mais ce sont des sots. Les 
personnes d'esprit ont en eux les semences de toutes les verites 
& de tous les sentimens, rien ne leur est nouveau, ils admirent 
peu; ils approuvent. B. 

^ MS. Commonplace Book in my possession. 




Quand un Lecture vous eleve 1 esprit, & qu'elle vou[s] inspire 
des sentiments noble & courageax, ne cherchez pas une autre 
regie pour juger de I'ouvrage il est bon, & fait de main de' 


twould be foolish to endeavou[r] to perswade us that what 
Homer & Virgil have done by the Approbation of all ages is not 
good; and to make us think that their particular tast[e] should 
prevail over that of all other men. Nothing is more ridiculous 
&c Pope on Homer. 

Nothing so much cools the warmth of a piece/ or puts out the 
poetical fire of poetry as that perpetual care to vary incessantly 
even in the smallest circumstances D° 

either of these practices are good but the excess of either 
vicious we should neither on the one hand thro' a love of 
simplicity & Clearness repeat the same words phrases or discourses 
nor on the other for the pleasure of variety, fall into a childish 
affectation of expressing every thing twenty different ways, tho 
it be never so natural and common turn back3 

The writers who succeeded them observd even from Homer 
himse[l]f, that the greatest beauty of style consisted in variety, 
this they made their principle they therefore avoided repetition 
of words & found out new turns & manners of of expressing the 
same thing D°. 

^ MS. Commonplace Book in my possession. The references are to 
the first edition, London, 1720, volume v (Observations on the Shield 
of Achilles). 

^ In a footnote Reynolds writes : "or recalls the spectators wandring 
enthusiast! cal senses," adding to this: "meus." 

3 The order in which the extracts appear is puzzling. "Turn back" 
means to the paragraph immediately preceding, which in the text 
immediately follows. The next two extracts are also out of their proper 
order, as may be seen by comparing them with the text (pp. 183 <f/ seq.). 


That useless nicety of avoiding repetition which the deHcacy 
of later times had introduced was not know[n] to the first ages 
of antiquity, the Books of Moses abound with them far from 
condemning their frequent use in the most antient of all the 
Poets, v/e should look upon them as the certain character of the 
age in which he lived they spoke so in his time and to have 
spoken otherwise had been a fault, And indeed nothing in itself 
is so contrary to the true sublime, as that painfull Sc frivolous 
exactness, with which we avoid to make use of a proper word 
because it was used before it is certain the Romans were less 
scrupulous in that point you have often in TuUy the same word 
5 or 6 times in the same page 

it cannot be imagind that an auther who so little wanted 
variety of expressions should be so very negligent on the 
contrary he affected to repeat Sec. Pope citing a french critic 
on Homer) 

Achilles's manners are not morally good they are only 
poetically so that is to say they are strong well mark'd^ 

true sublimity consists more in the simple & natural than in 
the pompous & swelling^ The mind becomes dazzled with the 
sight of his performances loses the common Idea of a man in the 
fancy'd splendor of perfection one is unwilling he should be 
spoke of in a language beneath imagination. (Pope on Homer) 

It is with great parts as with great virtues they naturally 
border on some imperfection, and it is often hard to distinguish 
exactly where the virtue ends or the fault begins. D°. 

As simplicity of tast[e] may descend into clownishness^& 
poverty of Invention so may a richness redundancy of Inven- 
tion turn into wildness a kind of richness romantick and magnifi- 
cent to be met with only in Romances 

^ This comment seems to be by Reynolds, possibly based on this note 
by Pope (p. 241) : "When we see . . .the Hero deaf to Youth, and Com- 
passion, it is what we expect. Mercy in him would offend, because it is 
contrary to his Character. Homer proposes him not as a Pattern for 
Imitation; but the Moral of the Poem ... is, that we should avoid Anger." 

^ This sentence seems to be by Reynolds, who has placed an "x" 
after it. On the opposite page, marked "x", appear the other excerpts 
from Pope. 



Study ^ 
A student should not set himself too great nor too small Tasks; 
For the first will make him dejected by often failing and the 
second will make him a small proceeder And at the first, let 
him practice with helps, as swimmers do with bladders or Corks; 
but after a Time let him practice with disadvantage, as Dancers 
do with thick shooes. Bacon essay on the Nature of men 

Serpens nisi serpentem comederit non fit Draco. Idem 

Cicero says that Whatsoever a man shall have occasion to 
speak of, he may have it in effect premeditated and handled, so 
that when he comes [supra it is to be applied] to a particular 
he shall have nothing to do but to put to names and times and 
places, and such other circumstance[s] of individuals 

Demosthenes had ready framed a number of Prefaces for 
Orations and speeches. Bacon 196 

Invention is readiness and present use of our knowledge and 
not addition or amplification thereof. Bacon 2^ Book of the 
Advancement 195 jo that our art is not properly Invention , for to 
invent is to discover that we know not, and not to recover or 
resume that [originally what] which we already know and the 
use of this invention is no other, but out of the knowledge, 
whereof our mind is already possessd, to draw forth or call before 
us that which may be pertinent to the purpose which we take 
into consideration, it is therefore by the schools placed before 
after judgment as subsequent and not precedent. Bacon 

^ MS. R.A. f. 40. Cf. ante, p. 130. 

^ Under this heading Reynolds has written "used". The two extracts 
on this foho were used in the twelfth discourse {Works, ii, 76, 92). 

3 MS. R.A. f. 51. Cf. ante, p. 130. The pagination indicates that 
Sir Joshua's edition was either that published at Oxford in 1633 or the 
earher state of this, with the imprint, London, 1629. 



first Discourse a higher tribunal than authority — the nature of 
the mind old habits the general rule Variety the excep- 
tion Rules founded in our Nature. Simplicity a corrector 

2^ Sculpture Grace not caused by incor[rectness] Every 
thing of a piece. 

3^ What are the Characteristics of Genius. — General Ideas 

4 Method of Study — Borrowing recommended, by being 
warned by those Great men you will Invent in their manner. 
— Metastasio 

5 The Highest tribunal recommended to address the Imagina- 
tion as the residence of truth, the effect is the test. — The 
result of the accumaleted experience of our whole lives to 
be attended to — Often misled by false speculations not to 
attend to feelings Plato reprimand[e]d What ought to 
be the object — It is the lowest stile only that is addressd 
to the Eye we are born with a disposition an[d] no 
farther Analogy of Poetry. Familiarity avoid[ed] — The 
Roman & Florentine Two Classes, in other Arts 

6 Gainsborough By continual contemplation Great Works, 
by degrees — dawn on the mi[n]d those Ideal Beauties 

[i]s* Vol [i.e., the edition of 1778] 

16. facility is reprobated easily acquired — too late to return 

to[o] lat[e] 
2^ [discourse] 33 to be afraid of himself when not imitating 
35. Mind thus disciplined may be indulged 
36 To direct the mind to the different excellence[s] and to 

shew the path 

^ MS. R.A. f. 6 1 . Unlike most of the pages in the Reynolds collection, 
folio 61 is actually a folio, and the following notes occupy all four pages 
of it. On the first two pages are the notes to the eighth, tenth, eleventh, 
twelfth, thirteenth, and fourteenth discourses, numbered by Sir Joshua 
"first", "2^", "3d", "4", "5", and "6". For an explanation of this, 
see above, p. 178. On the last two pages are notes to the first seven 
discourses, the pagination referring to the edition of 1778. 


48. a man best teaches himself 

54 Drawing learnt early, when old with as much difficulty as 
learning to read 

D° Paint your studies 

69 Not endeavour to deceive the sense but captivate th[e] 
imagination what causes the grand stile, ambition ex- 
cited Of the distinct stile the Grand & ornamental — no 
mixed passi[ons], wher[e] the Grand stile found. 

187 not endeavour to please the vulgar the intrepidity of 
Genius shoul[d] be possessd 

202 Imitation Genius acquired feels an inward pride, a 
consciousness of this relish of the right 

209 The Italians proceed in Common place That he should 
imbibe a poetical spirit 

277 Is not Art an imitation Sec be the best Pai[nter] 

298 our own sensations confirmed by that of others 

300 by analogy Arts are ascertained. 

323 Prejudices—great and little have their foundation in the 
mind and [are] to be valued. 

325 Tast[e] Sc Judgement united without the governm[ent] of 
reason Tast[e] [supra invention] is more like the dreams 
of a distemperd brain than the exalted enthusiasm of a 
sound & true genius 


[Two brief passages printed in Appendix II (j>osty p. 228, VII, 
5 and note).] 


'Those ideas. . .which lay in embryo, feeble, ill-shaped, 
and confused." Sixth Discourse. 

I, I. They wish to find some shorter path to excellence, and hope 
to Attain the rewards of eminence by other means than the 
"those which the" indispensible rules of Art have prescribed. 
They must therefore be told again and again that labour is the 
only price of solid fame, and that whatever their "force of" 
Genius may be, there is no easy Method of becoming a good 

When we read the lives of the most eminent painters, every 
page informs us that no part of their time was spent in dissipation; 
Even an increase of fame serv'd only to Augment their Industry. 
To be convinced with what persevereing assiduity they pursued 
their studies, we need only reflect on their method of proceeding 
in their most celebrated works. When they conceivd a Subject, 
they first made a Variety of Sketches of it, then a finish'd drawing 
of the whole, after^ 

II, I. The Painter has no [more] right to that name unless he 
is skilfuU in the art of using Colours than a Poet has to his who 
cannot versify however great the Genius or imagination of each 
of them may be. Those two Arts seem to he the same in regard 
to the general powers of Imagination they seperate only zvhen they 

^ MS. R.A. f. 23 verso. Cf. Works, i, 15. A fair copy, probably in 
the hand of Charles Gill {cf. ante, p. 3 5). The words in quotation marks 
have been added by Sir Joshua. The page, numbered i 5, was extracted 
from a notebook by Reynolds, who used the verso for the passage printed 
by Cotton {Gleanings, 232) concerning "the advice that was given by an 
eminent speaker in the House of Commons", a passage which, I think, 
was originally written for the second discourse. 


each go to work and begin to embody their Ideas in words or 

We must arrive at what is unknown by that which is known, 
whoever seeks a shorter method he only deceives himself, whilst 
he flatters himself he is in possesion of [originally he is possesing] 
the Art he is embracing a Cloud and produces monsters and 

II, 2. To copy occasionally may be usefuU If for Instance 
Rubens in the zenith midst of his excellence had tasked himself 
to Copy one of GmdiOS fine Beautifull heads it would have had 
its effect upon all his future Pictures, or Rembrant^ 
II, 3. A Picture, Poem &c. that has been admired & praised 
by the most celebrated men of tast for two or three centuries 
back may be lookd on if these works are still preserved amongst 
us I think they may be lookd on as fairly to have undergone their 
Tryal & [be] respected as stander[d]s of tast in that art, and who- 
ever opposes this opinion will find him as ill treated and as 
deservedly by all men of tast as Perault who calls thinks all the 
world has been in error but himself and that he has brought light 
to [the] world and opend mens eyes. 

When a man cant see the beautys of antient and admired pro- 
ductions he should have the modesty to distrust his own Tast and 
ju[d]gement rather than a whole herd world body of in- 
genious men that 3 

^ MS. R.A. f. 33. A rough draft on a page numbered 2. The 
passage deleted should be compared to that printed in Works, i, 
38. What precedes this in the MS. is similar to what is found in 
Works, i, 32. Compare the beginning of the second paragraph with 
Works, i, 28 and the reference to monsters with a similar reference in 
Works, \, 47. 

^ MS. Folger Library, Washington. Probably written originally for 
the second discourse. Cf. Works, \, 34 et seq. 

3 MS. Commonplace Book in my possession. Cf. Works, i, 30. This 
passage seems to have been based on Pope. Cf. ante, p. 212. Pope in his 
notes to Homer makes frequent references to Perrault. Another passage 
from the Commonplace Book which I think was used in this discourse 
was printed by Northcote (i, 90 et seq.). Cf. Works, i, 38 ^/ seq. In the 
Royal Academy (folios 21, 22, 23) are pages headed "The Advantage 
of Early Habits", printed by Cotton {Gleanings, 214, 232), which may 
have been written at the same time. Cf Works, i, 41. 


IV, I. In my last Discourse I mentiond the difficulty which 
attends us in endeavouring to express in words the refined ex- 
cellencies of Art or mark the circumstances which peculiarly 
distinguish the Grand Stile of Painting from every other, and 
that we must catch our Ideas [supra Principles] from the works 
of those Artists who have successfull[y] excited those Ideas, tho 
this is undoubtedly true yet it must be acknowledg'd that such 
reason retiring thus from difficulty might be urged against all 
Theory since [originally for, altered to as] it is very certain that 
no great excellence in any art was was produced by the mere use 
of a receipt. 

I shall therefore now endeavour to mark and point out those 
[originally these] more palpable principles which constitute this 
grandeur of effect, and according to the method which I have all 
along used endeavour [to] confirm their [originally real existence] 
reality by their existence in the frame of our mind and this will be 
shewn from the analogy which those principle[s] [originally they] 
have to our other habits and customs and disposition of the mind.^ 
IV, 2. The state of things is such that every thing is bought by 
labour, even our intellectual pleasures the most refin'd, cannot 
be acquired without labour, the mind must be disciplined to 
a tast of the Arts I consider painting as an Intellectual pleasure 
[.? I] have placed sweat and labour before the Gates of honour^ 

^ MS. R.A. f. 41, a page numbered by Reynolds i. As printed here, 
it by no means seems as unpolished as is actually the case. Many words 
have been inserted between lines, and there is evidence that Reynolds 
would alter a word and then return to his first expression, as he did with 
"Ideas" in the fifth line and the concluding clause of the first paragraph 
which was cancelled but, to judge from the "stet" in the margin, was 
reinstated. This seems to have been the first draft of the opening of the 
fourth discourse, since in the third he had written : "It is not easy to define 
in what this great style consists; nor to describe, by words, the proper 
means of acquiring it" {Works, i, 56). It will be noted that much of the 
fourth discourse is devoted to distinguishing "the Grand Stile of Painting 
from every other", but that this draft was not used, 

* MS. bound in vol. v, part I, of Jordan's National Portrait Galh'n 
(London, 1834) in the Harry Elkins Widener Collection in the Harvard 
College Library. The page is headed "Industry." Cf. the opening 
sentence in the fourth discourse {Works, i, 79), although there are 
many similar remarks in other discourses. 


IV, 3. The Artist has it in his power to give even to what is 
ludic[r]ous a certain dignity we may give as an example we may 
give our favorite Character Falstaf as an instance, it is apparent 
tho The Poet intend him to be a bouffon for the sake of ingrati- 
[a]teing himself with the prince, he is still not a vulgar [person] 
this is discoverable enough in the writing and the actors give him 
a tone of importance and superiority, supposing this Character 
to be represented we cannot make him speak or give those 
tones but we can do what is equivalent we can give a grandeur 
of tast of design to his figure which will preserve it from sinking to 
vulgarity I mean only that we should give to the unwieldy cor- 
pulence of Falstaff what Julio Romano has given to the Dwarfs 
IV, 4. The wisdom of the French is [originally The French are] 
so profound that they will receive no opinions for which they do 
not see the reason, principles confirmed by the suffrages of near 
300 years, analogical reasoning deduced from sister arts, the 
natural consequence of such principles exciteing peculiar Ideas 
all these are prejudices in their Eyes and [are] to be eradicated 
[originally exciteing such Ideas is treated as prejudices, etc."] 

I remember many years since having a dispute with a French 
artist [originally with some French artist all who] about the 
imitation of Nature particularly in drapery [originally he insisted 
in particular that Historical], that it ought to preserve the dis- 
crimination of stuffs, tho he acknowledgd the practice of the great 
artists yet as it could not be defended by what he called reason 
[supra They were considerd as prejudices and as such to be 
eradicated] he adopted in his own practice a different method. 
I remember he was so far uniform, he valued himself upon being 
an Esprit fort. This equal ^ 

^ MS. Folger Library, Washington. A photographic reproduction 
faces p. 122 of Lord Ronald Sutherland Gower's Sir Joshua Reynolds 
(London, 1902). My text omits several obvious slips of the pen, and I 
have taken the liberty of placing the words "The Poet" in their present 
place (line 4) instead of at the beginning of the sentence. The passage 
seems to have been discarded from the fourth discourse. Cf. Works, i, 
86 (f/ seq. 

^ MS. R.A. f. I. Cf. Works, i, 90. The parallel is not particularly 
close, but I have placed it here because of the closer parallel between 
the verso and the same section of this discourse. 


IV, 5. Grand stile requires courage The contrary dead ^ Prove 
form to be least. Raff[ielle] &c Primaticio 

I had not then considerd our art as having an appropriated 
stile corresponding to the subject. Heroic Metre a measure a 
proportion, an outline, a Harmony that will not suit a work 
which is merely a representation of the common occurrences 
of life [originally We have our Heroic Metre etc,'] of this stile 
the Florentine as they were the inventors so they are still our 
Masters & being diffused over the Roman & Lombard States has 
given a grandeur to their stile even Titian & Tintoret caught 
a spark and tho it be said to be adulterated when in the hands of 
Rubens who must be allowed to have something of Grandeur in 
his outline, in adding facility he has lost correctness. 

This is totally opposite to the Dutch stile. The French have 
had two masters that have more nibled at it Poussine and 
Le Seur but it appears that France is a soil where it could not be 
propagated, at present they are as far removed as the Dutch 
school tho in another direction^ 

IV, 6. Ludicrous & serious mixd The Dutch school are like 
those travellers who describe the domestic life of the lower sort 
of people their pleasures & their occupations 

The Venetians, like the wild imaginations of Tasso or 
Ariosto, the same mixture of serious & ludicrous. If in Paul 
Veronese he introduces Boys Playing with Monkey, Dogs & 
Cats fighting for a Bone, Ariosto treats you with an E ludicrous 
Episode in the midd[le] of a grave narration. The affectation and 
want of simplicity in Guardi 

Le Brun who may [be] said to b[e] [t]he head of what we call 
the French School, had that correctness which is exacted from 
their Poets, & which ill supplies the place of originality of a 
vigorous imagination 3 

IV, 7. non bene conveniunt nee in una sede morantur 
Majestas & amor — 

The pleasure which the mind receives from the contemplation 

^ These notes are almost illegible. I am unable to decipher the next 
two words, which look hke "captive folly" or "rapture sillv". 

2 MS. R.A. f. I verso. Cf. Works, i, 91. 

3 MS. R.A. f. 10. Cf. Works, I, 91-96. But cf. Works, iii, i loctseq. 


of those works of art in which are address'd to the dignity or I 
may say the divinity of the mind. 

Shaftsbury says men have too [i.e. two] minds — they have too 
minds to be pleasd 

The mind has two qualities, or two different modes of receiving 
pleasure one of which seems to approach [originally one of which 
approaches] the divinity in the same proportion as the other does 
sensuality, the works of art are allways address'd to one or the 
other of those passions, but perhaps it is worth the [? suggestion] 
that it you can never [? combine the two successfully.]^ 
IV, 8. different, and they are in reality so different, that they 
each counteracts the effect of the other 

Musick that is to inspire love & tenderness, the Notes flow 
gently from into one another without abruptness but the reverse 
when intended to inspire courage and magnanimity. 

The easy flowing of those lines which make beauty & grace 
and the union ofSc harmony of those colours which are employd 
in pictures representing [supra subjects such as Corregio, Guido,] 
&c. would effectualy destroy the effect which the Sibyls & 
Prophets of Michael Angelo have on the more dignified part of 
the mind. 

A Tree which whose branches have a certain degree of regu- 
larity, is not so noble as an old Oak tree where the its unwieldy 
branches shute out in a wild irregular manner, and whose lines 
branches are often diametrically crossing on[e] another the 
very reverse to of which produces grace & beauty Michael 
Angelo ^ 

^ MS. R.A. f. 54 verso. The bottom of the page has been cut off. 
Possibly what was here written was continued on the other side of the 
page (see IV, 8 foUovdng). The quotation from Ovid's Metamorphoses 
Reynolds could have found among other places as the motto for Tatler 
no. 46. The reference to Shaftesbury must be to the Inquiry Concerning 
Virtue or Merit, although I do not know the specific passage. In all 
probability the MS. was once associated with the fourth discourse. 
Cf. Works, \, 95. 

^ MS. R.A. f. 54, a page headed "Analogy." The paragraph on 
music is similar to a passage in the commonplace book in my possession, 
printed by Northcote (i, 93). Cf. Works, i, 89. 


IV, 9. There is no instance of a real great History Painter 
that could not if he chose it so pleased paint Portraits^ 

V, I. To pursue this comparison the various stiles or Characters 
in Painting we may compare may be classed in the same manner 
as those Characteristical forms of the Antients 

The most perfect is that which unites to the highest degree 
possible all the higher excellencies and all the inferior so far as 
they will contribute to set those off to the greatest advantage this 
[? thus] we may compare Raffiell to the human form accom- 
panied with all the advantages of grace and motion the next 
is the Hercules or Mi: Angelo stile which spurns at all elegance 
or embellishments of art. Corregio Guido and Parmegiano we 
may compare to the Apollo To the Fawn [supra Mars] which 
possesses Activity [supra a strength] without the weighty strength 
of the Hercules we may compare the Carraches Poussine 
Domenichino &c to these marked Characters we may still add 
other subordinate but still preserving the mark'd characters 
comparing the Silenus to Rubens, Pan & the Satyr to the 
excentric stile of Salvator Rosa the excellency of all these 
subordinate Character[s] will much depend on their har- 

V, 2. [From those who have ambition to tread in] this great 
walk o[f the Art, Michel Angelo] claims \{\% first next a[tten- 
t\on.'] far from posin p . . .perfection he. . .of general excelle[ncies~\ 
. . .not so numerous . . . [He did not possess so many] excellencies 
as R[aphael; but considered^] the art as consis[ting. . .those he 

^ MS. bound in vol. v, part I, of Jerdan's National Portrait Gallery 
(London, 1 834) in the Harry Elkins Widener Collection in the Harvard 
College Library. Cf. Works, i, 106. 

^ MS. An unattached page in my possession. Originally numbered 
49, it was changed to 34. A diagonal line drawn across it indicates that 
eventually it was discarded. In all probability this was originally 
written for the fifth discourse, which is devoted to a discussion of the 
various '"''styles and characters of Painting" {^Works, i, 123). In this 
discourse Sir Joshua treats of the ^'' union of excellencies" and of "the 
subordination in which various excellencies ought to be kept" {Works, 
i, 121 et seq.). And he mentions in the course of it all the artists 
named in the manuscript except Parmigiano and Domenichino. 


had] were carried to 5\ublimity} of the highest kind.] He con- 
siderd the [Art as consisting of] little more than Mwha[t may be 
attained by Sculpture.]^ 

VI, I. In regard to stealing single figures In Shakespears best 
dialogue no part of it will stand by itself, it is a vein which in one 
sense is inimitable, a more inferior excellencies is made up of 
Witticisms. So in Painting a figure that will do for any place 
will do for none, what is perfect in itself will not make a part 
as two Globes, what is a compleat whole of itself will not make a 
part of a Composition. 

It may be observed [that] Those best parts which distinguish 
writers whos[e] Genius is the most acknowledged are not 
detached sentiment[s] but a rich vein. This may be said to be 
inimitable inimitalitianota sunt — but still possibly to be acquired. 
This therefore ought to be the object of imitation to acquire this 

VI, 2. It is very dangerous to attempt the General Ideas before 
he has acquired a knowledge of individual nature, — With out 
this foundation in his own experience he must work by rote 
without settled principles and will be easily led into a false and 
affected stile that has no foundation but in a caprici\ous\ mind 

An Artist should know the principles of art and have some 
other reason for his stile than that it is recommended to him by 
fashon or that his master used it 

when I recommend the anrich enriching & manuring the 
mind with other mens thoughts I suppose the Artist to know his 
Art so as to know what to choose and what to reject. 3 

^ MS. in my possession. It is a fragment measuring 3^" x 4^" and was 
the lower left-hand corner of a page from Sir Joshua's final draft of the 
fifth discourse. Along the margin is this endorsement: "The hand 
writing of S^ Joshua Reynolds / James Northcote". Northcote was one 
of the two scribes who made a fair copy of this discourse for the author 
{cf. ante^ p. 141), and judging from the appearance of this fragment, 
he seems to have rescued it from the waste-paper basket. I have filled in 
the lacunae from the text as first printed. Cf. Works, i, 126. 

^ MS. R.A. f. 9, presumably discarded from the sixth discourse, 
which treats of the connection between genius and imitation. Cf. Works, 
i, 151. 

3 MS. R.A. f. 9 verso. Cf. Works, i, 157^/ seq. 


VI, 3. I will beg leave to exemplify this by an Invention of Cor- 
regio, and in a print w^hich is in every bodys hands The Picture 
[supra of which the original] is in the Capo di Monte at Naples 
The subject is the most common and hackney'd of all subjects 
the Holy Marriage of S^ Catherine a small Picture and if we 
use Shakespears expression of small regard to look at but of 
wonder full sovereign virtue when attended to with an^ 
VI, 4. I agree therefore with all those who say it is vain to that 
labor is in vain without this Genius this feeling or this good 
sense but I differ in supposing this is not to be acquired 

Whoever has carefull[y] obser[ve]d the works of Corregio 
and rernarkd the expression of his hands and the correspondence 
of the whole action to the expression of the Countenance will 
afterwards give him a habit of observing in Nature similar 
circumstances The marriage of S*. Catherine in Capo di Monte 
&c. &c. The Angels in the Riposo the general effect of the 
Cupolo — as well as the detail of the figures all is feeling.^ 
VI, 5. When I could truly say that I felt to myself I now felt 
the Excellence of Raffiele & M. Angelo [supra I now see why 
these great men stand so high.] // was the greatest I felt the 
happiness th[e] satisfaction & self congratulation it could not 
be more than I experienced as if I had my self produced those 
works the expansion of my mind 

a united pleasure originating from too different sources, one 
of which proceeded from the real proud expansion of the mind 

^ MS. R.A. f. 7, headed by Reynolds "Genius taught", a subject 
treated in the sixth discourse. For what seems to have been a later draft 
of this see the selection which follows. Sir Joshua himself owned a 
"Marriage of St. Catherine" by Correggio (Graves and Cronin, iv, 
1607), and in 1770 had written: "Mr. Aufrere has brought to England 
a Marriage of St. Catherine by Corregio and an undoubted true one, 
full of faults and full of Beauties." {Letters, 27.) The Shakespearian 
reference is perhaps to Troths and C^'essida, ni, iii, 128: "What things 
there are Most abject in regard, and dear in use." 

^ MS. R.A. f. 4. Cf. Works, i, 147-58. Perhaps connected with this 
fragment is the MS. printed by Malone {fVorks, i, p. Iii) in which 
Reynolds writes: ''''li I had never seen any of the works of Correggio, 
I should never perhaps have remarked in nature the expression which 
I find in one of his pieces; pr if I had remarked it, I might have thought 
it too difficult or perhaps impossible to be executed." 

HR 15 


which the pride of soul as it has been Called and the other the self 
congratulation that I was / of being of possesing a mind capable of 
feeling receiving feeling those refined sensations, which are the 
great prerogative and distinction of man 

I was let in to the Capella Systina in the morning and remained 
there the whole day. a great part of which was spent in walking 
up and down in with great self importance In the highth of this 
paroxism passing through, on my return, the rooms of RafFeil 
they appeard of an inferior order ^ 

VI, 6. I remember to have heard a very learned Critic observe 
speaking of Pope observe that he believed there was no happy 
expr allusion or expression in any of the Poets his predicessor[s] 
that he had not adopted, [supra inserted in his work] & he 
suppose[d] that he had a common place book in which he inserted 
them for use when 

If any of Homers the works of the co temporaries Poets with 
Homer had come down to us we should find this same 

Massacio now ruined, but the prints shew the use that Raffiele 

VI, 7. It is necessary qualification A certain degree of pride 
enough to take oflr any timorousness & for him to depend on the 
force of his own Genius is a necessary qualification in a Painter 

Genius has been compared by somebody to a spark of fire which 
if left to its self would blaze out in a noble flame but is choakM 
when two much fewel is laid heapM on it. this is the Conduct 
I would recommend When a Painter has a subject to paint 
insteed of searching after the people into Prints paintings or 
drawing to find out how other Painters have treated the same 
subject let him by reading or otherwise work himself to as high 
an Enthusiasm as possible he please in order to form his mental 
picture as lively and as noble as possible and let him sketch from 
that by this means his pictures will have the air of Genius 
stampt on them, whilst the contrary practice will infallibly 
produce tameness and his Pictures works will always have the 

^ MS. R.A. f. 28. Cf Works, i, 156. 

^ MS. R.A. f. 29, headed by Reynolds "Invention". Cf. Works, i, 
159, 175. The learned critic was Dr Johnson. The last sentence was 
later expanded in the twelfth discourse {cf. Works, ii, 89 et se^.). 


air of Copys. after he has drawn sketched from his idea only we 
will allow him to look into at the works of his predecessors or the 
for Dresses ornaments and Sec. of the time. 

Instead of recollecting how Raffiel or [the] Caracci &c have 
treated thei[r] subject he should forget if Possible that he had ever 
seen endeavour if possible to obliterate from his mind all Ideas 
of Pictures he has seen of the same subject.^ 

VI, 8. To Form an Idea of perfection, if they take all their 
Ideas from the works of any single master it must be faulty A 
person should not excuse his fault[s] by supporting them on the 
authority of Great Masters, if so there is no fault in the Art but 
may be excused Dryness from Raffiel. 

nor should they as Shakspear says turn their own Perfections 
to abuse to seem like him, abuses are sometimes when met with 
in Great men esteemd faults^ 

VII, 1.3 Prejudice Is the Wisdom of the Supreme and the chief 
engine of Political Wisdom it is a ray of the divine Wisd"^ 
which when catchd by Man approaches nearer to divinity.4 
VII, 2. Is there can is any thing be more benevolen[t] more 
consistent with divine wisdom than giving us that disposition to 
like and prefer & esteem that the most beautifull that we have 
been we are most accustom'd to 5 

VII, 3. I have endeavord to distinguish between those the dif- 
ferent kinds of Prejudices, those narrow ones which we have from 
a partial & confined view, and which are to be eradicated, and 

^ MS. Commonplace Book in my possession. Only the comparison 
of genius to a spark of fire was used in the sixth discourse {Works, i, 160), 
where the "somebody" is said to be the younger Pliny. I have been 
unable to trace the reference. 

^ MS. Commonplace Book in my possession. Cf. Works, \, 166 et seq. 
The Shakespearian reference is to Henry IV, part II, 11, iii. 

3 When writing the seventh discourse Sir Joshua seems to have turned 
back to entries in the Commonplace Book in my possession, made 
presumably about 1759. These are printed by Northcote (i, 62 and ii, 
57). The latter is almost literally copied in this discourse {Works, i, 227). 

4 MS. R.A. f. 13. In all probability this is quoted from some work 
Sir Joshua was reading, but I have included it here because of its obvious 
connection with the fragments which follow. 

5 MS. R.A. f. 36. Cf. fragment which follows. 



the more enlarged which [supra is implanted in our nature] is 
the wisdom of the creator.^ 

VII, 4. app/ to convince one of this truth let us apply it to 
conversation, every body must have observd how insipid cold 
a general observation is receiv'd by a company who are enter- 
taind by a story or character of a person whom the company 
know are acquainted with Thus in regard to what concerns 
Painters the fashon of Dress will any one that speaks from their 
real tast and feeling say that the Mass people dont appear more 
pleasing more agreable in the dress of the times than in a Painters 
imaginary dress; If they ask their reason indeed they will answer 
no; but the ma if they ask their tast they will agree this is upon 
the same ground as the instance mentiond before (of acquaintance) 
the present over powers the general Idea As in morality the 
present temptation over powers the distant Ideas of rewards^ 
VII, 5. The true Philosopher knows that in the moment when 
Genius the mind creates and invents it will not admit of the 
least restraint check or restraint that it loves to rush forward 
without controls and without rule, to produce indiscriminatly 
the monstrous and the sublime, and to carry down its rapid 
stream gold and mud mingled together by the impetuosity of its 
course. Reason therefore gives to Genius, while it creates a 
boundless liberty &[c.] &[c.] — it then exercises its authority & 
sits in judgment on the Productions of Genius see D. Alembert 
in Gerards Book of Tast. page 240.3 
VII, 6. impetuosity of the act of oi inventing and creating, of 


A NAME, he gives his imagination its free course set without 

^ MS. R.A. f. 6. Cf. Works^ i, 240, referring to what had been written 
earlier {id. 201 et seq.). 

^ MS. R.A. f. 56, numbered by Reynolds "5". Cf Works, i, 230 
et seq. 

3 MS. R.A. f. 32. To this is pinned a small strip of paper (f. 31), 
headed "d alembert" and containing but one sentence, from page 222 
of Alexander Gerard's Essay on Taste (Edinburgh, 1764), a book which 
included a translation of d'Alembert's Reflections on. . .Taste: "The 
flights of genius must be unrest[r]ain[ed] since it is often in the midst 
of its wildest excursions that it creates the true sublime." Cf Works^ 
i, 241. 


check or controle, sets down in a rough sketch the general 
disposition however incorrect and wild, but what objection can 
there be made for reason to come afterwards to select and / to 
correct what seperate the Gold from the dross and determine what 
is to be preserved and what is to be thrown away.^ 
VIII, I. The first thing is to see the difficult[y;] a person 
who does not — 

The difficultys of selecting from the different [kinds of] 
Excellence that which correspond[s] to his stile of thinking 

An Artist should extend his views to every kind of excellence 
but every kind of excellence will not correspond to that perhaps 
which he has chosen for his own Rubili iacs antique head.^ 
VI 1 1, 2. The variety of manner all excellent The Grandeur of 
Prescision the Grandeur of the Contrary of Titian & Rembrant 

Painting has its own excellence exclusive of every other art 
or consideration 

That stile which renounces all ord artifice — 

That stile which may be said to be composed of artifice, the 
very essence of which consists in this Art as it may be called of 
Artifice I think M[ichael] Ang[elo] Raff[ielle] & Poussine 
if they had known (which I do not know that they did not) 
would have renounced it as savouring of trick & conceit; and 
would have left it for those to practice who needed them and 
without which they would be nothing whereas those whom I 
have mentiond wishd the attention of the spectator to be fixed 
and by on a higher object and not to be diverted and drawn off by 

^ MS. R.A. f. 55, numbered "3" by Reynolds. Cf. the preceding 

^ MS. R.A. f. II. Possibly the first notes written for the eighth 
discourse, in the opening sentences of which he refers to the difficulty- 
there is in "endeavouring to form an idea of perfection from the different 
excellencies which lie dispersed in the various schools of painting". 
{Works, i, 245.) The allusion to Roubiliac is too cryptic for me to 
decipher. Perhaps Sir Joshua had in mind the visit which the sculptor 
had made to him after seeing the "works of antiquit}- " in Rome, "I was 
infinitely impatient", Roubiliac told him, "till I had taken a survey of 
my own performances in Westminster Abbey, after having seen such 
a variety of excellence, and by G — my own work looked to me meagre 
and starved, as if made of nothing but tobacco-pipes" {Northcotey i, 76). 


what they might justly call tricks Raffielle['s] & Pousines & 
Corregio['s] composition[s] are^ 

VIII, 3. Just such as a sensible man would produce there is a 
the rule of Principle figures of Groops of Figures & lights are 
observed as much as common a right eye judgment dictates the 
necessity and no more, there is no confusion or uncertainty where 
to look it is the inferior Class of artist[s] that thi makes this art 
the chief who consicious of the labour & science required to 
accomplish those higher qualities seek for reputation in an inferior 

Poussine['s] manner [supra Grandeur], is simpl[e] accurate 
determined formal determined with the utmost precision [in] 
formal measured steps, every thing is in order — hard 

above all shufling tricks by [supra above] producing the effect 
by shufling tricks as he would call them — 

Rembrant opposed who whether he painted with his finger or 
the wrong end of the Pincil he was justified provided the effect 
wanted was produced 

P[oussin] addresses the spectator in a formal step and measured 
dignity he has such an aversion to foppish Airs an[d] a studied 
or modern Grace that to avoid it he often runs into the contrary 

extreme. Eve[ry thing] is too simple too orderly nothing in 

his conduct^ 

VIII, 4. What we may justly admire is not allways to be 


The brilliancy of Rembrants lights if it cannot be acquired 
but by the sacrifice of all the rest of the Picture is as well 

^ MS. R.A. f. 43, numbered "i" by Reynolds, and continued, 
I believe, on f. 39. The page is headed "The Difficulty of Art". 

^ MS. R.A. f. 39, numbered "2" by Reynolds and almost certainly 
a continuation off. 43. "The rule of Principle figures. . .& lights" is 
discussed in detail in the eighth discourse {Works, i, 264 et se^.), as is the 
contrast between Poussin and Rembrandt {id. 250 et seq.). As finally 
printed this contrast contains no mention of Rembrandt's habit of 
painting with "the wrong end of the Pincil", but the characteristic is 
mentioned later in the twelfth discourse {Works, ii, 102). Perhaps the 
last paragraph is not correctly transcribed. The writing is so faint that it 
is unusually difficult to decipher. 


neglected, besides such contrivances are tricks that the Grand 
Stile disdains. 

Poussine['s] stile would have sufFer'd a degradation, had if his 
Pictures had the effect of Titians, the effect w^ould not have 
corresponded with the simplicity which Poussine made wishd 
to be be his predominant character, it would have been too rich. 

This severe stile does not correspond with young minds. 
Poussine himself endeavourd in the beginning of his life before 
he had settled his stile, to imitate Titian but he soon quitted it 
and fell into what was more congelial to his own mind and 
better correspond[e]d with those excellencies which he already 
possess' d. 

Now tho I would [not] wish Poussine['s] Pictures to possess 
have the same effect of as those of Titian, because I think it 
would be too rich and apparently be too artificial, yet if he had 
imitated the tint of the Flesh of Titian might his P and we may 
[add] had the general hue of Titian without the artificial dis- 
tribution of light and shadow His Pictures would approach 
nearer to an Idea of Perfect[io]n^ 

VIII, 5. If Painters took it into their head that there was but 
one manner in which to be imitated, and let that be either 
Raffaelle or the Carrache this manner would be soon reduced 
to a trick, we men should be tired of simplicity fatigued with 

The seeking after novelty The very same thing which is the 
cause of the advancement of art and of our highest pleasure of its 
claim to patronage and a — is at the same time the destruction of 
art cause of its declension and finally of its destruction — as it 
goes down lower & - This is the unhappy state as it may be 
called of arts. The at a nation arrives and suddenly, from choosing 
the most obvious and what is best to the highest state of perfection. 
you will of They must necessarily decline from that point with- 
out any intervention of Phisical causes men grow tired they 
want variety /r the best being taken every change^ 

^ MS. R.A. f. 35. Cf. preceding note. 

^ MS. R.A. f. 44, numbered "2" by Reynolds and probably dis- 
carded from the eighth discourse in which Sir Joshua speaks of the 


VIII, 6. A Genius does not need the rules who writes imediatly 
from nature, suppositing it portrait Painter possess'd of a 
Thousand rules which are to be observ'd when he paints a 
Portrait that the light is to [be] kept about the middle of the face 
that lights & shadows of Children bu must be more blended & 
delicate than in men &c tho' the all those thousand rules may be 
all true a painter that has arrived at a faculty of imitating acuratly 
the nature prefectly he has before him to per will succeed without 
being acquainted with one w[h]ether he is conscious of acting by 
rule or not at the same time it it is certain all the use that those 
rules can be is for novices to look for, what perhaps in nature 
might be otherwise overlook'd^ 

VIII, 7. Felibien is here certainly mistaken, LeBrun never 
designed to make Alexander the principal figure by means of the 
light, but by the place he possesses in the picture. The strongest 
light must be in the middle of the picture, and it was impossible 
to put Alexander there with any sort of decorum: so Statira 
receives the principal light, though Alexander is apparently the 
principal person, since every figure in the piece directs you to 
him. Felibien took it for a constant maxim, that the principal 
figure should receive the principal light; but the greatest painters 
have dispensed with this rule, when they could not (as in this 
picture) place the principal figure in the middle. He praises the 
picture for that which would have infallibly spoilt it, had it been 
executed — that is, placing the strongest light in the corner of the 

"advancement of art" {Works, i, 261) and "the seeking after novelty" 
{id. 253). The symbol found in the middle of the second paragraph, 
which resembles a "V" placed over a " i ", is, judging from Sir Joshua's 
habit, an indication that the sentence is continued on the verso of the 
preceding page. 

^ MS. R.A. f 16. Cf. Works, i, 264, 267, 281. 

^ A marginal note in Sir Joshua's copy of Felibien's Tent of 
Darius Explained, translated by William Parsons, London, 1703. It is 
found on p. 33 referring to the following passage: "the Figure which 
Represents Alexander being the Principal of the Whole, it is Disposed 
in that very Place, where the Light Shines with the Greatest Force; 
And as to the Other Figures, they are Placed in that Manner, that the 
Light Coming to Spread it self more upon the Noblest of them, it Com- 


VIII, 8. As in Nature, the suffering one Idea to preside over 
& swallow the rest produces madness, so it is with the Artist if 
he suffer one principle of art such [as] effect of light [to] make the 
principal object of their attention [he will] produce what may be 
called mad Pictures.^ 

VIII, 9. [A long passage in the Commonplace Book in my 
possession, printed by Northcote, i, 90 et seq., probably written 
long before but used when composing the eighth discourse. Note 
in particular the praise of simplicity, the condemnation of narrow 
rules relating to contrast, and the statement that obedience to 
such a rule "gives a certain hurry & confusion to the picture 
&. . .deprives the Picture of its most noble ornament which is 
the majesty of repose." Cf. Works, i, 250, 260, 265.] 

IX, I. Opening the new Academy / The History of Art. See 
Boteux — ^ 

X, I. Sculpture represents nature without the infirmities^ 

XI, I. distance or in whatever light is is placed, can he shewn 
can be shewn It is In vain to attend to the variation of tints, 

municates it self afterwards to the Rest, According as they are More or 
Less Distant." I have been unable to locate Sir Joshua's copy of this 
book but have transcribed the apostil from an article in the Library of 
the Fine Arts, London, 1831, i, 41 et seq. Reynolds certainly referred 
to his note when discussing LeBrun's picture in the eighth discourse 
{Works, \, 269). 

^ Item 187 in catalogue 10 13 issued by James Tregaskis & Son in 
1935. The page is headed "Method". Perhaps to be associated with 
the eighth discourse, in which the evils of various kinds of extremes are 
discussed, with particular attention to effects of light. Cf. Works, \, 267 
et seq. 

^ From the photographic illustration facing page 1 24 of Lord Ronald 
Sutherland Gower's Sir Joshua Reynolds, P.R.A., London, 1900. It is 
conceivably a note for this discourse, which marked the opening of 
the Academy's new quarters in Somerset House. Perhaps Sir Joshua 
originally planned to draw his ideas for this discourse from Batteux's 
Les Beaux Arts R^duits a un meme Principe. 

3 MS. R.A. f. 25, endorsed in pencil "2^^ Lecture". When contem- 
plating a companion volume to the first seven discourses (the edition of 
1778), Sir Joshua omitteo the ninth discourse, since it was an address 
extraordinary, numbering what we call the eighth " i " and the tenth " 2 ". 
The nearest approach to this sentence in the tenth discourse is where he 
speaks of sculpture as "a /)^r//W representation of nature" ( Works, ii, 1 7). 


if in that attention the general hue of flesh is lost, or to finish 
ever so minutely the parts, if the masses are not observed, or 
the whole not v^^ell put together. 

Vasari who seems to have no great partiality to disposition 
disposition to favour favour the Venetian Painters, yet he every 
where he justly commends il modo di fare, la maniera 
LA BELLA PRATiCA that is the admirable manner and practice 
of that school, on Titian in particular he bestows the epithets of 
giudicioso, bello, e stupendo.^ 

XI, 2. brilliancy of the Colouring, In that he was large and 
general, as in his design he was minute and partial. In the one 
he was a Genius; in the other he was not much above a copier. 
I do not however speak now of all his pictures, instances enough 
may be produced in his works where those observations on his 
defects could not with any propriety be applied^ 
XI, 3. Idleness and dissipation are such obsticles to the Advance- 
ment of Artists, their works are so often left imperfect in reality 
from those vices tho the artist perhaps satisfyes himself or blinds 
his eyes blinds rather hoodwinks his eyes and wishes to satisfy 
himself with the authority of ex Critics who have blamed and 
justly both writers and Painters for too much diligence, no m[an] 
a man need not be afraid of d\iligence'\ too much finishing or 
diligence if it [be] directed to its proper object, 

the In reality when a man that is said to hurt his work by too 
much diligence may with much greater propriety be said not [to] 
have diligence enough he who dances with a constrained air 
as if he carefully measured every step has not taken the previous 
necessary pains has not used the same diligence as he who has 

^ MS. R.A. f. 5 1 verso, numbered "15" by Reynolds and preserved 
because on the other side are reading notes for the following discourse 
{cf. ante. Appendix I, p. 214). It is Sir Joshua's final draft for a portion 
of the eleventh discourse {cf. Works, ii, 50 et seq.). The words "can be 
shewn", "disposition" and "favour" which are crossed out are in the 
hand of Samuel Johnson. Cf. ante, p. 135. 

^ MS. R.A. f. 40 verso, a page preserved because on the other side are 
reading notes for the following discourse (sec ante. Appendix I, p. 214). 
It is Sir Joshua's final draft for a portion of the eleventh discourse 
{cf Works, n, 53). 


the appearance of dancing careless[ly] without art &;[c]. The 
verses of Antimachus. see 326. 

If by too great diligence and anxiousness is meant too great 
a sollicitude to do better when it is already well, a continual 
dislike to the first design as if it was impossible the first 
thought could be good allways correcting and polishing till 
the spirit is evaporated, of this a man must correct himself 
A man may have has considerd he who has had any work long 
in hand it ceases to strike his own mind for for that very 
reason, whilst a new design tho' inferior will please more has 
It and^ 

XII, I. It is often disputed which is the most effectual way of 
hri educating Children — by fear or persuasion, my opinion is 
that nothing but fear of corporal punishment will induce a child 
to learn a science his grammar in regard to morals things must 
be so managed that he be led to correct himself, hut as B. Johnson 
says he thats compelld to goodness may be good; but 'tis but for 
that fit: h potius consuefacere filium sua sponte recte facere, quam 
alieno metu Terence Adelph^ 

XII, 2. Of Perspective and anatomy we may say tho it is dis- 
gracefull to be ignorant it is likewise may be said to be a vice to 
know too much. Perspective and anatomy are both undoubtedly 
necessary in our art hut a moderate knowledge [supra proportion'] 
of each is it must be acknowledged at the same time that if [one 
has] a moderate degree of knowledge [of] each [it] is sufficient 
for all the purposes of our art, whoever seeks for more seeking 

^ MS. R.A. f. 45, numbered "5" by Reynolds. Possibly a rough 
draft for the eleventh discourse. With the first paragraph compare this 
sentence: "No work can be too much finished, provided the dihgence 
employed be directed to its proper object" {Works, i\, 66). The reference 
at the end of the second paragraph is to Junius's Painting of the Ancients. 
Cf. ante, p. 1 24. 

^ MS. R.A. f. 24. Probably a rough draft of a passage in the twelfth 
discourse ifVorks, ii, 73 <?/ seq^, where he discusses treatises on education 
and suggests we treat ourselves "like humoursome children". Note 
that shortly after this in the text {id. 75) he writes: "The first part of the 
life of a student, like that of other school-boys, must necessarily be a life 
of restraint. The grammar, the rudiments, however unpalatable, must 
at all events be mastered." 


for more in those arts than [supra thisl are necessary starve s\)\ 
it must he at the expence of neglecting what more essentially concerns 
the him in and to acquiring which life may itself be said to bej is / too 
short for what \is necessary\ it must be at the expence of what is 
must by such pursuits more necessary, it this amounts to a demon- 
stration if we acknowledge that life itself is too short for the 
acquisition of those far more necessary parts of of art time 
therefor must be husbanded to acquire what is necessary, it is a 
great vice in study^ to take such a fancy to those accessory & 
assistant arts, and 2,% to make them principal that is so far principal 
as if the Artist sought for and j as to seek for a parti[cular] 
eminence & distinction in them/ by their means/ , it is an j a poor 
I it is an ill directed ambition that never yet seases a real Jrtists 
mind, to seek for eminence and distinction by excelling in 
accessary arts insteed of pushing on of setting your whole force 
upon the great & principal objects of ar[t] shews a mean ambition, 
a passion for those things does not make as I may say and we may 
add never yet made any part of the construction o/[?] an j a real j 
Artists mind, does not enter into the composition j is not any part of 
the of the mind of a real Artist This is as if a Poet should become 
a Grammarian tho it is Absolutely necessary to be a Gram- 
marian to a certain degree^ 

XII, 3. Facility that is not the consequence and result of infinite 
labour and practice is odious and contemptable, it is odious as it 
[is] reaising or rather attem[p]ting to raise admiration on false 
pretences [?] pretences, The Real and true facility can proceed 
alone from infinite practice, without which it is all smoak and 
the assuming the appearance of fire is allways disgustfull 

As I have allways observed endeavourd in my Discourses to 
place the principl[e]s of our art parellel with other arts This 
Principle of facility is perhaps in no Art so perfectly exemplified 
as in Dancing, and here as in Painting, there is superad[d]ed to 

^ MS. British Museum, Add. MSS. 37,053, f i, numbered "i" 
by Reynolds and headed "Method of Study". Perhaps the first draft 
of the beginning of the twelfth discourse, in which he discusses methods 
of study {JVorks, ii, 72). But it is not unlike a passage in the eleventh 
discourse (Jd. 54 ^/ se^.). 


the rules of Art the continu[a]l exercices of the limbs this 
grace which tho few arrive at it is indeed nothing without it, and 
here we may say it is like Elocution tho in the one the steps are 
to be distinc[t]ly made out, and in the other the words to be 
distinctly pronounced, a smoothness is to be the result of the 
whole or as Shekespear says, you are still to beget a smoo[thness] ' 
XII, 4. by experience I mean a knowledge 

if a man should say I depend upon my feelings what certainty has 
he that his own feelings have not some unwarranted byass by which 
he is prejudiced in favour of a vijthat tast[e'] which is everywhere 
reprobated in every country and b except in that in which/ country 
where he first imbibed this prejudice, of the difficulty of con- 
quering those prejudices Rubens is a signal instance, a man who 
perhaps possessd as much sagacity as nice dist[inction?] as great 
a share of Genius in a certain way as was ever possessd by one ever 
fell to the share of one man. He traveld to Italy when young and 
stayed there a considerable time but it seems but still not long 
enough or perhaps it was too late to eradicate those early prejudices 
Ideas of beauty which he had early imbibed in his more early youth 
in his own country I have seen \supra been shewn] drawings 
which he then made from the Apollo of Belvidere and which he 
we see afterwards introduced into one of the Pictures of the 
Luxemberg Gallery, where the whole elegance of form is lost 
in a clumsy embonpoint 

He possessd a comprehensive Genius, for he [was] extending 
his view to the whole together , whether it was in regard to Col[our'\ 
the Harmony of Colours^ 

' MS. British Museum, Add. MSS. 37,053, f. 2, numbered "2" by 
Reynolds. Possibly a rough draft of the twelfth discourse. Cf. Worksy 
ii, 83. Sir Joshua refers to Hamkt's advice to the players (iii, ii): "In 
the very... whirlwind of passion, you must acquire and beget a tem- 
perance that may give it smoothness." 

^ MS. British Museum, Add. MSS. 37,053, f. 3, a page numbered 
" 3 ". Reynolds has written at the top "put back", which he has crossed 
out and for which he has substituted "see no 3". This perhaps refers 
to the third discourse {Works, \, ji et seq.), where he had written: "It 
may possibly have happened to many young students, whose application 
was sufficient to overcome all difficulties, and whose minds were capable 
of embracing the most extensive views, that they have, by a wrong 


XII, 5. the light & shadow and or the contrast of the figures 
which he introduced, His Pictures are allways well filld there 
is nother ro/^ meagre or scanty nothi\ng\ no part cold or inanimate 
in short he is one of the [most] perfect of all painters in his that 
class (which I rank as ornamental Painting) it is all of a piece, 
and we may add that it is that stile 0/ which every body feels, to 
relish some of the higher artists such as M. Angelo Raffiell 
Julio & Pousine requires a mind habituated to the art but he 
wanted \i.e.^ lacked these qualities.] 

From that byass j//[/^?] nature [?] with which his mind had 
been earl\j}'\ im impregnated, he sought after every thing that 
was congenial to those original impression [s] all this he found 
at Venise and greedily receivd and availd him[self] of their 
principles the simplicity of the antique & Roman school was 
repugnant to his mind^ 

XII, 6. If invention is an insta\n\tanious ready and of that 
practice allways ready for immediate use of our knowledge it is 
a power I never possess' d which is calld in our the Painters 
Language invention I never possess'd But of that invention 
which consists in selecting the best and perhaps sometimes after 
many ineffectual trials being able to select the best which pre- 
sented \j>ossibly prescribd] itself to them to call forth on Canvass 
what was pertinent and proper for the subject, but I have done 
so little in this way that it is impertinent to speak of myself as a 
Painter of History limy what I have attemptjed are mere essays 
is perhaps sufficient to shew, that I might have been an Historical 
P[ainter] it is all the the only praise to which I am intitled to^ 

direction originally given, spent their lives in the meaner walks of painting, 
without ever knowing there was a nobler to pursue." This he illustrates 
by referring not to Rubens but to Diirer. I suggest that the MS. was 
originally written for the twelfth discourse (^Works, ii, 83) but was 
*'put back" into one of the folders marked "Discourses not used", 
either because it was too similar to the passage quoted or because he 
intended to incorporate it in the revised edition of the third discourse. 

'^ MS. British Museum, Add. MSS. 37,053, f 4. A continuation of 
the preceding folio. 

^ MS. R.A. f 26, endorsed in pencil "Lecture No 4" {i.e. of the 
second series. Cf. ante, p. 178). Cf. Works, ii, 83. 


XII, 7. Readiness of invention I never possessd too many 
years of my early life were gone [supra had been used] in Portrait 
Painting before I knevv^ its value, it vv^as then too late to acquire it, 
tho I consold myself with observations that I made on those who 
possesing that power in an eminent degree were not at all equally 
distinguishd for originality of Invention, and concluded that 
those that the two qualities of readiness and originality naturally 
counteracted each other, tho I am ready to acknowledge that 
this has too much the air of the consolation of Ignorance yet 
/ it may be defended with plausable instances A hab[i]t of 
inventing withou[t] thinking in common place, and suffering 
those powers of seperation [supra distinction ?] to lye dormant 
may vitiate the tast and the mind form inadvertantly slide into 
a habit of taking every thing with selection till at last that it 
may lose its power of selection 
Metast[as]io complained &c^ 
XII, 8. Taki[ng] borrowing or demanding assistance from others 
ought not to be considered as so much a mark of a mans own 
[supra any peculiar] weakness as a ;?z a true Judgment of the 
difficulty of the task, of the narrowness ^/and confined views 
of an individual mind^ 

XII, 9. An artist begins by an implicit confidence in and [a] 
humble imitation of his predecessors, he begins by stealing a part 
from one artist and another part from another artist, making what 
the Italians call a Pasticio, till these excellencies which he has 
from time to time selects are wrought into his mind, he looks at 
all their works with this view whe[n] after some habit in this 
mode of study he begins to feel [supra distinguish] the difference 
of stiles that many excellencies are incompatable with each other. 
When the mind is those stored he has a right [to] follow his own 
feelings and his own fancy & imagination — and till he does, and 
is qualified so to do, he cannot call himself a Master. Every 

^ MS. R.A., an unnumbered folio on exhibition, numbered " i " by 
Reynolds and endorsed in pencil "Lecture N^ 4". This seems to be a 
second draft of folio 26 (XII, 6). Even without the endorsement its con- 
nection with the twelfth discourse would be obvious, Cf. lForks,'n, 83 ^f/jr^. 

^ MS. R.A. f. 18, headed "To Correct Imitation" and perhaps 
connected with the twelfth discourse. Cf. f Forks, ii, 91 et seq., 96 et seq. 


part of his work will halve] appear to proceed from the same 
mind from the same tast — whether his disposition leads him 
to the stile of M. Angelo or of Rembrant of Paolo or Rubens 
or of Poussine, the most stricking circumstance in all those Great 
Artists is their uniformity. Add Rubens drapery or Back ground 
or his trick[s of] Colouring and tricks of Art to Poussines 
Simplicity [supra Figures] or the reverse their uniformity and 
totality as it may be called, is entirely destroyd 

There is an elegance and an order in the Drapery of Guido 
which perfectly corresponds to the Character of his mind; The 
Grandeur of M. An heavy folds and continued lines of M.A. 
perfectly correspond with the stile & Character of his figures 

There is an elegance neatness & precision which would ill 
become that more than masculine stile of M.A. ^ 
XII, 10. Tho I have been led on to a longer digression respecting 
this great Painter than I intended, yet I cannot avoid mentioning 
another quality which he possessed in a very eminent degree 
and which for ever accompanies he was as much distinguishd for 
his Diligence and industry as he was for his superior excellence 
in his profession. He had no other pleasure but in the pursuit 
of his Art, to the entire neglect of every worldly concern thing 
else, and it is from hence as we are told that he acquired the 
Nick-name of Masaccio which implies that he was totally 
regardless of his person or dress or any worldly business; his real 
name was M Tomaso^ 

XII, II. [Whether it is the knife or any other instrument, it 
suffices if it is something that does not] follow [exactly the will of\ 
the artist; [Accident in the hands] of an artist who knows how 
to take the advantage of such strokes of chance will often produce 
bold striking 3.nd capricious beauties of handling and facility, such 
as he would not have thought off or ventured at, with his pencil 

^ MS. R.A. f. 2, a folio in the proper sense of the word. The last two 
paragraphs are on the second leaf. Apparently this is a rough draft of 
a passage in the twelfth discourse (^Works, ii, lOO et seq.). 

^ MS. R.A. f. 34 verso, preserved because on the other side of the 
page Reynolds sketched and commented on a painting (see next page, 

XIII, 2). This is a late draft of a portion of the twelfth discourse. Cf. 
Works, ii, 94. 


under the regular restraint of his hand, however this can be 
practiced on occasions only where no correctness of form is 
required, such as clouds stumps of trees or broken ground as it 
is produced in the same accidental manner, it has the same free 
unrestrained air as the works of nature herself^ 
XIII, I. infurire [? furere] cum ratione It appears to me 
absurd to suppose that a Poet Pindar for instance had not 
formd to himself principles the practice of which would give the 
appearance of the real phrenzy of enthusiasm as as a man out of 
the bounds of all rules, for instance it is expected that a man in 
a simple narration relates only the fact, A Poet is certainly 
not a matter of fact man, but he having observd that men possessd 
with great vehemence have in their heat run away with a digres- 
sion till they have forgot the story with which they sat out The 
Poet of the Passions observes this and makes a principle of it in 
his art and pretends to be carried off by a simile this is the trade 
& this must be practiced by the t[r]ade^ 

XIII, 2. white Clouds on a dark blue sky, the Ground & the 
Shadows of the Cloud near the same Colour the clouds light 
near the moon the moon indeed on a light Cloud the horison 
a uniform light cloud which reaches home to the light Clouds 
about the moon Bluish round the mound moon yellowish clouds 
at a little distance 3 

^ MS. R.A. f. 3 8. The final draft of a portion of the twelfth discourse. 
Cf. Works, ii, 103. The MS. is written on the right-hand side of the page, 
the other side left' blank for alterations, of which there are none. It is 
a torn fragment preserved because it was used as a folder for Sir Joshua's 
collection of Johnsoniana. The page has been folded and on one half 
of the verso in Sir Joshua's hand is written: "N^ 2. Johnsoniana"; on 
the other half in another hand is the endorsement: "remarks on D*" 
Johnson, letters, verses Sc^ &c'\ Johnson died three days after the t^velfth 
discourse was delivered. 

^ MS. R.A. f. 58. Perhaps to be associated with the tliirteenth 
discourse, treating of how poetry differs from nature. Cf. Works, ii, 
122 et seq. But possibly written as a note to Dufresnoy {cf. Works y 
iii, 137 et seq.) or to Shakespeare {cf ante, p. 103). 

3 MS. R.A. f. 34. On the verso is a draft of a portion of the twelfth 
discourse (see previous page). Since reading notes used in the twelfth 
discourse are written on the verso of drafts of the eleventh {cf. ante, p. 234) 

HR 16 


XIII, 3. it is not more a [altered to an] decept[ive] imitative 
art of deception than the Theatre, we are no more to be 
deceivd in the one than the other nor is it the object of the 
writer or Painter 

I can no more impose on myself the realityof thebusinessonthe 
stage than I can beleive real figures surrounded with a Gilt frame. 

It is true that [it] is by means of employing imitation [that] 
both present us with manners sentiment and Character — if both 
were to but neither stop at mere imitation the one would represent 
they are both therefore arts of Expression^ 

XIII, 4. Nature is the object which every art professes to 
imitate and each art has its peculiar mode of imitation it is 
the first business of an artist therefore to distinguish thsit peculiar 
mode which his own art requires in order to direct his pursuit to 
that goal end or this goal which may be said to be the habitation 
of the Genius of that Art whatever it be 

Thus nature is professedly imitated both by a Painter and a 
Player — and yet there method is very different, was a Painter 
who should take his Ideas from the Stage would produce Character 
and expression a work in the worst stile possible, the simplicity 
which Painting requires would not fill the scene would appear 
meagre and that of the Theatre in Picture would be bombast 
and affected^ 

XIV, I. that the walks of art are not exhausted I will venture 
to give as an instance, he has taken up the living manners, of 
it is true they are not general manners, but it is in painting what 

I have assumed that this is a page of notes connected with the thirteenth 
discourse. If so, the only passage which it remotely suggests is the follow- 
ing: "whether the clouds roll in volumes like those of Titian or Salvator 
Rosa, — or, likethose of Claude, are gilded with the setting sun" {Works, ii, 
129). It is possible that the notes refer to a picture by Rubens in Sir Joshua^s 
possession, "a representation of a Moonhght" {Works, i, 278 et seq.). 
They are written under a rough sketch of a moon surrounded by clouds. 

^ MS. R.A. f. 5, presumably a rough draft for a portion of the thir- 
teenth discourse. Cf. Works, ii, 130. 

^ MS. R.A. f. 30, the back of an envelope addressed "S^" Joshua 
Reynolds / Liecester Square". The seal has been removed and there is 
no post-mark. Presumably a rough draft of a portion of the thirteenth 
discourse. Cf. Works, ii, 134. 


Comedy is in poetry there will be new walks of painting struck 
out, [There is] an instance of this in our country man Hogarth, 
who has made a regular Comedy he to be perfect should have 
had the execution of Teniers Bro[u]wer or some of the Flemish 
Painters added to his Genius and Invention, but the it must 
likewise be granted and it is to his praise it may be said that his 
Characters and expressing seize the mind so strongly that those 
lesser excellencies are forgot ^ 
XV, I. what are the marks and Characteristics of Genius 

Review the Discourses and add to th[em] 

The dangers to which the study of every kind of Excellence 
in Art is liable, in lif[e] as well as in art 

Michael Angelo who to avoid insipidity gave action to every 
part may beget a Golzius and Spranger who seem to imagine 
the further they depart from and the more they are unnatural 
the more like M. A. they may depart from nature be forced 
& constraind but not without arriving without grandeur, like 
Foot[e] he w[ent] in his mimicry he went out of himself but not 
into another Character 

they lose nature without finding Art^ 
XV, 2. / have warned them against the Danger that M. A. may 
beget a Spanger or Go/zius^ 

XV, 3. To Examine the Principles of art & dis^intangle the 
confusion of Ideas which arose from the different Ideas of the 
Imitation of Nature. 

^ MS. R.A. f. 53, perhaps originally intended for the fourteenth 
discourse, in which the work of contemporary English painters, Gains- 
borough, Wilson, and Hogarth, is discussed. Cf. Works, ii, 163. Other 
MSS., definitely written for this discourse, were seen and printed by 
Cotton {Gleanings, ziy et seq., 223 <?/ seq^. 

^ MS. R.A. f. 50. These are preliminary notes to the fifteenth dis- 
course, in which he reviewed the discourses and eulogized the "exalted 
Founder and Father of Modern Art". In this lecture he speaks of "the 
comparative feebleness of [Michael Angelo's] followers and imitators", 
mentioning in particular some of the Flemish painters {Works, ii, 196, 
202), but he does not name Goltzius or Sprangher. Later in the same 
lecture, speaking of Michelangelo's inventions, he warns students that 
"an imitation of them is always dangerous, and will prove sometimes 
ridiculous" {id. 205). 

3 MS. R.A. f. 15. Cf. f. 50, immediately preceding (XV, i). 



To entertain a respectable difference [i.e. deference] for the 
united sense of mankind as discoverable in their approbation of 
the higher departments of art ^ 

XV, 4. It has been likewise a great object with [me] to convince 
the students that Tast or Genius as well as abilities [supra the 
pracatical part of our art] are acquird and [I] have therefore 
endeavourd — by recommending the frequent filling the mind 
with those Ideas which the work of the great masters inspire, 
to put the mind into that train of thinking by which it is 

XV, 5. to awaken the mind and turn it to the difficulties [supra 
refinement] of the art not to be contented with mere macanical 
facility in short to teach artists to be Genius however strange 
this language may appear to many 

1 have opposed this practical compendious manner, those 
who never endeavourd at any of those refined excellenc[i]e[s] 
which is Genius or indeed any thing above the common ro[u]tine 
of practice this is the bane of art3 

XV, 6. and here I took the opportunity of guarding the student 
against attem the vulgar error of attempting mixed Character, 
of enfeebling the expression we may add to what is there said 
that even in Poetry when any one quality is to be represented to 
its highest degree nothing is admitted that will counteract it. 
This [i.e. Thus] Homer makes both Achilles and Hector as 
[originally Homers Heroes Achilles and Hector are] totally 
divested of the Character of Pity to their Enemies as it would 
counteract the this [originally his] Charact[er^ Idea of a War like 
Hero, terrible in War which was to be not only his predominant 
Character but his whole character 4 

XV, 7. it may serve to confirm what I have said on that subject 

^ MS. R.A. f. 19, presumably preliminary notes to the fifteenth 
discourse. Cf. Works, \\, 188, 190, 193. 

2 MS. R.A. f. 20. Cf. Works, ii, 207. 

3 MS. R.A. f. 49. Cf. Works, ii, 214. 

4 MS. R.A. f. 46. Presumably to be classed with the preceding 
fragments in which Sir Joshua is reviewing the discourses. It seems to 
have been based on his reading of Pope's Homer. Cf ante, p. 213. 


What are the circu instance [s] the clevar [?] will be inquird 

the winding up of my day [?]^ 
XV, 8. one method of proceeding in your studies is undoubtedly 
better than antoher, but it [supra this dijBFerenc] is not of so 
much consequence as is generally imagined, and an artist after a 
certain habit in a way which me \t,e. may] not be the best is 
still the best for him a change of habit would be attended with 
more loss of time than the advantage of the best way would 

Some begin to sketch before they have very distinct Ideas of 
what they intend and but scramble about it till they have pro- 
duced what they sought after Such as Rembrant, Others 
before they will not touch a pencil till they conceive distinctly 
the subject & disposition Thus Johnson & Burke in writing 
Many of Corregios Drawings are in that way as if he would put 
himself in the way of having the advantage of chance^ 
XV, 9. Whether M. A. examind in the original reasons of the 
or'ig of his Conduct is nothing to the purpose tis sufficient if we 
have shew[n] the propriety of it that it is supported [by] the 
principles of Po & practice of the greatest Poets, it shews this at 
least that his imagination was well formd that he seiz'd the 
truth by a kind of instinct if you will not allow him any better 
reason 3 

XV, I o. A man does not allways execute that which he esteems 
the very best but he does that which he can best do 

I can imagine that Pope knew that when he was translating 
Homer that it would have been better to have given the transla- 
tion the air the simplicity of the original, but he considerd that 
he was to make a popular poem and that notwtthstand\ing\ the 
choquing offensiveness of seeing Antiquated Ideas represented 
in the modern refinements and elegance of our would be excused 
from the harmony ^ elegance and lost in the Harmony of the 

^ MS. RA. f. 57, practically illegible because of poor penmanship 
and the dimness of the ink. Perhaps to be classed with the preliminary 
notes to the fifteenth discourse. 

^ MS. R.A. f. 42. Cf. Works, ii, 193. 

3 MS. R.A. f. 16 verso. Cf. Works,' \\, 196. 


Every thing should be of a piece ^ 
XV, 1 1, as the moral Philosophers say expatiate on the difficulty 
d?/and rarity of a mans knowing himself, an Artist must particu- 
larly [strive] to attend to this knowledge of himself that is to 
know what he wants and to endeavour to supply that want by 
a particular attention to that particular defect; thus if he wants 
readiness,^ if he wants correcting of drawing, if Colouring if 
Character — those defects will neither be felt or understood 
unless he has previously formd an Ideal Perfection to which he 
refers his own works Parmegian found himself defective in 
proportion tho he never wanted grandeur of outline, his first — 
& his latter works 

Johnson Journey to the Hebrides^ 
XV, 1 2. Our art in its highest and most refined state has perhaps 
a little of what I apprehend Musick has much more depending 
on Convention, to understand which requires some habit study and 
attention to habituate the mind to have certain Idea[s] excited 
by certain marks or sounds Both those arts Musick proceeds 
upon certain a ground work natural sounds till at last it becomes 
so refined that to fee.l the effect which is intended to be excited 
requires a long habit and skill in that art; and we have been told 
that savages whose skill never went beyond the natural notes 
have no sensation tast for this refined stile to the great astonish- 
ment of Musicians but no more than expected by D^ Burney who 
is both a Philosopher & Musician and in regard to our Art, how 
few would be struck with the Grandeur of Stile of M[ichael] 
A[ngelo] or R[affielle] without a previous preperation. The 
Keeper of the Vatican told me that it has frequently happend, 

^ MS. R.A. an unnumbered folio on exhibition. The first paragraph 
has been cancelled. The second paragraph (completely rewritten) was 
used in the fifteenth discourse. Cf. Works, ii, 202. I suggest that this 
page was written in 1770 for the third discourse (i, 74), was placed as 
a discard in the folder labelled "Discourses not used", and was eventually 
incorporated in his final address. 

^ Sir Joshua has annotated this as follows: "never had readiness of 
using my own mind if not young he had better give it up and acquire 
justness and originality." 

3 MS. R.A. f 8, numbered "2" by Reynolds. Parmigiano's "first & 
his latter works" are discussed in the fifteenth discourse {Works, ii, 194). 


that after he has attended a Company and even Artists through 
the Rooms when he was about taking his leave has been asked 
why he has^ not shewn them what they came principally to see 
the works of Raffiele an\d'] that he has then led them back to 
the rooms which they had passd before. 

I confess I was not myself struck with Raffielles works as 
I expected but what my expectations were I can not tell ^ but 
I remained lived long enough in the Vatican to know that my 
disapointment was the child of ignorance, and to be perfectly 
satisfied that they would not have been the better if they had 
then correspond [e]d with my ignorance to my narrow [? view] 
of the Art I conclude from hence that Tast for an Art in high 
cultivation is acquired that we in so far from natural that to possess 
it it requires habit sagacity as the Convention of writing, and as 
Tast is known by giving its due degree of Excellence habit is 
required in that art or a man cannot say any object is great or 
little who has seen but that individual. 

I would infer from this the necessity o^ an artists study to form 
his mind, to be convinced that it will not come to us unsought 
we must go to it and acquire it by continual sollicitation. it has 
been recommended even to affect a feeling if you have it not to 
use every artifice3 to attend to your prejudice upon your own 
mind to acquire this necessary ingredient in Art.4 
XV, 1 3. Whoever expects the rewards of Eminence must obtain 
them by the same means others have attaind them, labour is 
the price that is set on it and tho it may sometimes happen that 
honour and riches are bestow'd on an unworthy Artist, yet these 
are only exceptions to the general rules Life is like a Game 

^ The first page of this folio ends at this point. 

^ On the verso of the preceding page, to be inserted here, Sir Joshua 
wrote: "I probably expected the captivating splendour of Rubens whose 
works in the church at Whitehall I had much studied the which was 
the church I frequented /br that on account of the Ceiling." 

3 On the verso of the preceding page, to be inserted here, Sir Joshua 
wrote: "and give a fair display of your prejudice." 

4 MS. R.A. f. 3, a foho in the proper sense of the word. Inaccurately 
printed in part by Cotton {Gleanings, 221 <?/ seq.), who assigns the MS. 
to the thirteenth discourse. It is almost certainly the draft of a passage 
in the fifteenth. Cf. Works, ii, 207. 


composed of chance of and skill, tho chance will sometimes 
give the advantage to the unskilfull yet in skilfull is more likely 
of success^ 

XV, 14. JVe may admire & justly they deserve our admiration 
the correct judgement the purity of taste of Raffaelle the ex- 
quisite Grace of Corregio & Parmegiano, But the terrible Graces 
of Michael Angelo like a torrent that hears down every thing before 
it disappear in the presence of Michael Angelo. 

There is a daring intrepidity in his imagination that appears 
above Criticism, to set the world with all its littleness at defiance; 
[That he was capricious in his inventions cannot be denied, 
which may make some circumspection necessary in studying his 
Works: for tho' they appear to^ 

XV, 15. it said of him what he himself said of Raffaelle "Che 
Raffaelle non ebbe quest arte da natura ma per lungo studio". 

He was conscious that the great excellence to which he 
arrived [was] by dint of labour & was unwilling to have it thought 
that it could be acquired by any cheeper price than he had paid 
for it. This was not said with any intention of depreciating the 
genius of Raffaelle of whom he always spoke as Condivi says with 
the greatest respect & tho' rivals no such illiberality existed between 
them & what Vasari reports of the veneration which3 

^ MS. R.A. f. 37. C/. Works, ii, 215. 

^ MS. R.A. f. 60, a fair copy of a part of the fifteenth discourse, 
written by Mary Palmer on the right-hand side of a page which she has 
numbered "44". Presumably the words in italics were crossed out by 
Sir Joshua, who has added the last seven words in the first paragraph 
and has inserted the bracket in the second paragraph to indicate the 
omission of the first part of that paragraph. Cf. Works, ii, 205. The fair 
copy was continued on what is now folio 14, reproduced in facsimile 
in Cotton's Gleanings (the second of the two facsimiles facing page 232). 
Cotton inaccurately states that the handwriting is Sir Joshua's (the 
statement is true of the corrections) and omits the numbering of the page 


3 MS. R.A. f. 59 verso, a fair copy in Mary Palmer's hand, numbered 
"63 ". It is continued on what is the second leaf of foho 14, reproduced 
in facsimile in Cotton's Gleanings (the first of the two facsimiles facing 
page 232). The facsimile omits the numbering of the page (64). Cf. 
Works, ii, 2 1 6. 


"I find that the causes of my resigning the Presidency 
of the Royal Academy, have been grossly, & as I conceive, 
from very unjustifiable motives, misrepresented." 
Sir Joshua to Sir William Chambers, February , 1790. 

[The following account is taken from the original MS. in the possession 
of the Royal Academy. It was written between the middle of February 
and the middle of March, 1790 {ante, pp. 175 et seq.) and is Sir 
Joshua's version of his quarrel with the Academy. It was copied in part 
by B. R. Haydon, who included his transcript as an appendix to his 
autobiography, and was first printed by Leslie and Taylor (ii, 559-77). 
As far as I know, no one since has examined the MS. with any care. 
Succeeding biographers have merely referred to Leslie's version, which 
is here shown to be extremely inaccurate. 

The Apologia, written in haste, was never completed, and is therefore 
often confusing and difficult to decipher. Wherever it was possible to 
go astray, Leslie succeeded. He endeavoured to arrange the papers in 
a somewhat chronological order, instead of following Sir Joshua's plan ; 
he omitted important bits of information ; he changed the spelling of 
many more than the "two or three words" which he admitted correcting 
(ii, 558). Consequently I have thought it worth while to present a more 
accurate text. In doing so I have arranged the pages as nearly as possible 
in the order Sir Joshua seems to have intended to publish them. The first 
twelve folios are obviously to be placed at the beginning. They are stitched 
together, and on the verso of folio 12 is the endorsement: "Justification 
in the matter of Bonomi and the resignation of the Presid^'s Chair. "^ 
These twelve folios are apparently rewritten from a rougher draft. They 
are free from the changes in spelling and sentence-structure which mark 
the other pages. Following them is the series numbered by Sir Joshua 
" 5 " to " I 5 ". In order not to confuse these folios with those in the first 
series, I have referred to them as " 5 a", 6a", etc. That they should follow 
as in my text is proved by the fact that f. 1 2 and f. 5 a dovetail. Folio i 5 a 
concludes with Sir Joshua's resignation, which brings the first part of the 

^ Sir Walter Armstrong {Sir Joshua Reynolds, London, 1900, 147) 
writes as though he had seen the MS., but he repeats Leslie's mistake 
of reading "Satisfaction" for "Justification". Cf. Leslie and Taylor, 
ii, 558. 


Apologia to an end. Next in order is a series numbered "i" to "lo", 
which I have referred to as "ib", "2b", etc. Strictly speaking, the 
"Second Part" does not begin until f. 3 b, but the fact that Reynolds 
numbered this page "3" indicates that he considered the actual division 
to be two leaves before this. After f. 10 b I have added the remaining 
five folios, most of which seem to have been intended for the conclusion. 

The MS. is enclosed in two folders. On the outside of the one Sir 
Joshua has written: "no. 4. Beginning the Academical Disputes"; on 
the other are the words: "last part. no. 5". I assume that folders i and 
3 were filled with MSS. which make up the greater part of Appendix 
II. Folder 2 was used for Johnsoniana {ante, p. 241 n. i). At any rate 
the endorsements on folders 4 and 5 show that Sir Joshua intended 
to divide his Apologia into two parts only, and the page-numbers on the 
folios indicate that he adopted separate pagination for the two parts. 
I believe that what is now contained in folios i to 12 was originally 
compressed into the missing first four pages of the series which now 
consists of folios 5 a to 1 5 a. In the first part Reynolds explains the origin 
of the quarrel and the cause of his resignation. In the second he accounts 
for the opposition to Bonomi. Because of this scheme a certain amount of 
repetition is unavoidable. 

Such at least is the conclusion I have reached after studying the MS. 
Doubtless I shall be criticized for including most of what Sir Joshua 
crossed out. My defence is that in many cases what has been deleted 
gives us additional information {e.g. his remarks concerning Tyler, 
f. 14a, West, f. lb. Chambers, f. 6 b, the "rebels" as a whole, f. i b, 
all of which was probably omitted because it was too personal). In some 
cases also, by giving what has been crossed out, I show why I consider 
that a certain folio should follow another {e.g. fi\ 5b-6b, yb-Sb). 
Furthermore, the inclusion of all that was written shows more than any- 
thing else how strongly Sir Joshua felt the insult. Feeling that he had 
been inexcusably slighted, he was unable to write the words as quickly 
as they came to him, and the result necessarily was an incoherent expression 
of his sentiments and a page filled with corrections. 

In reprinting the MS. I have adopted the scheme employed in the first 
two appendices. What Sir Joshua has crossed out is printed in italics. 
What he has underlined is indicated by capital letters. His spelling and 
punctuation have been retained. In certain cases, to make the task of 
reading easier, words or letters have been inserted in the text, enclosed 
in square brackets. I have thought it unnecessary to supply biographical 
notes for the members of the Academy mentioned. The best book of 
reference for this purpose is Sandby's History of the Royal Academy of 
Arts, London, 1862. Hodgson and Eaton, The Royal Academy and its 
Members, London, 1905, is also useful, though briefer.] 

f. I The consequence which every man is to himself, and the 
imaginary interest which he vainly supposes the public take in 


what concerns him, or his private affairs, may reasonably be 
supposed to be the origin of the various apologies for the life and 
conduct of very insignificant individuals. However I wish to 
avoid the ridicule that attends such appeals to the public, yet it 
has been suggested to me by my friends, that as the public appear 
to have already interested themselves from the daily account in 
the newspapers and the statement of the dissentions in the 
Academy in those papers and other publications not very advan- 
tagious to the President, It is proper that a fair account ought 
to be laid before the public / that tho the ridicule that might f. 2 
otherwise attend it, was obviated by having presided in a public 
office, of however comparitivly inferior rank that office was, it 
is still such as the world have thought proper to interest them- 
selves about its success or miscarriage That if you can shew that 
the opposition you met with in the Academy was, in the prosecu- 
tion of your duty, and the insult which you lately receiv'd was 
unprovoked and unmerited, it is a duty you owe yourself and 
your character so to do, and at once clear yourself from the 
clandestine as well as public insinuations that are now circulating 
in the world. / 

To do this, it is necessary to go back a few years to get at the f. 3 
original cause of this dissention amongst the Academicians. 

years ago the Academy lost its Professor of Perspective, 
Mr. Wale.^ To fill this office no Candidate voluntarily appearing, 
the President personally applied to those Academicians whom he 
thought qualified, and particularly to Mr. P. Sandby and Mr. 
Richards begging them to accept the place and save the Academy 
from the disgracefull appearance of there not being any member 
in it capable of filling this office or that they were too indolent 
to undertake its duty, my sollicitation[s] were in vain. A Council 
was then called to deliberate what was to be done. Sir W"^ 
Chambers proposed that as from the orders in our Institution, the 
Professor must be an Academician, he re / commended that we f. 4 
should endeavour to find out some person, out of the Academy, 
properly qualified and elect him an Academician expresslv for 

^ Minutes of the Council, 7 February, 1786: "The Secretary 
reported that Mr. Wale died this Day." 


that purpose, and I remember his adding that it was the custom 
so to do in the French Academy. This method of proceeding was 
adopted, but no person so quahfied occurring to the Council, 
nothing more was done for the present.^ 

At a succeeding Council I proposed Mr. Bonomi. Mr. 
Edwards an Associate was likewise proposed. It was then hinted 
with great propriety by our late Secretary Mr. Newton, that he 
apprehended we should think it necessary that the Candidates 
should produce specimens of their abilities, we all acquiesced 
in this opinion. I acquainted Mr. Bonomi what the Council 

f. 5 required and / Mr. Edwards's friend[s] gave the same information 
to him. 

The President soon after receivM a letter from Mr. Edwards 
in which he proposes himself as a Candidate but [says] that if 
specimens are required — he is past being a boy and shall produce 
none. Mr. Bonomi sent his Specimen to the Exhibition, which 
was a Perspective drawing of his own invention of Lord Lans- 
down[e's] library ^ 

At the following General meeting for the election of an 
Associate the President reminded the Academicians tha[t] the 
Professorship of Perspective was still vacant, and that Mr. 
Bonomi was on the list [of] Candidates 3 to be an Associate with 
a view particularly to fill that office, that as they had seen his 
Specimen at the Exhibition they were to judge whether or not 
he was qualif[i]ed for the place he solicited, he carefully avoiding 
to utter a single word in his commendation. When the Pres<^ 
sat down Mr. T. Sandby the Professor of Architecture without 

f. 6 being called upon / by the President or any one else rose and said 

^ Minutes of the Council, 24 February, 1786: "Read the Letter 
sent to the Academicians with the Notice of Mr Wale's Death. Enquiry 
being made if any Letters were sent from Gentlemen who might offer 
themselves to succeed him as Professor of Perspective, No Letters 
being received. Resolved:- That the Business be postponed for the 

^ Item no. 462 in the Exhibition of 1786 was Bonomi's "Design for 
a library for a nobleman in town". 

3 Originally "was a Candidate", "a" has not been cancelled. The 
meeting he is discussing was held 6 November, 1786. 


he did not know Mr. Bonomi having never seen him in his life 
but judging from the Drawing at the Exhibition he thought 
him eminently qualified to be Professor of Perspective to the 

Notwithstanding this high authority in his favour, Mr. 
Bonomi was not elected an Associate.^ 

At a succe[e]ding election of Associates Mr. Bonomi wished 
to decline being any longer a Candidate. I press'd him to 
continue his name on the List, [saying] that I would speak more 
fully upon the business at the next Election than I had hitherto 
done and that if I failed I never would ask him again. / Accor- f. 7 
dingly at the next Election following ^ the President after 
mentioning that Mr. Bonomi was again a Candidate, & [having] 
complained of the little attention that had been hitherto paid 
to the filling the Chair of the Professor of Perspective [said] 
That it was full as disagreable to him to drop council in un- 
willing Ears as it was irksome to them to hear it. 

That nothing but a sense of duty could make him persevere 
as he had done for these five years past at every Election con- 
tinually recommending them to fill this place, that it would 
continue to be his duty at every future election and beg'd them 
to relieve him from this disagreable task and for once to /to f. 8 
set aside their friends or even Candidates of the greatest merit 
in other respects and give their Vote to the general Interest 
and honour of the Academy, in short to make the Academy 
itself whole and complete before they thought of its ornaments. 
That it could not be question'd that it was as much His duty 
as President and general Superintendent, to preserve and keep 
the Academy in repair, as it would be the duty of Sir W'". 

■^ Twenty-four candidates were proposed, Northcote, Hodges, and 
Opie, receiving 15, 12, and 11 votes respectively, were elected, Gilpin 
with 10, Bourgeois with 9, and Bonomi with 7 followed. 

^ Sir Joshua is here mistaken. The next election occurred 3 December, 
1787, at which Reinagle, Bourgeois, and Bigg were elected, Bonomi 
receiving 1 1 votes, two less than Bigg. At the election following, 
3 November, 1788, Fuseli was elected, receiving two more votes than 
Bonomi. The election Reynolds is now discussing is that held 2 Novem- 
ber, 1789. Bonomi's unwillingness to continue as a candidate dates 
from the meeting in 1786. Cf. Letters, 178. 


Chambers when a Pillar of the Academy was decayed to supply 
the deficiency with a new one. Sir W"^. he acknowledge[d] had 
one great advantage, by his f i a t the business was done at once, 
whereas the Pres*. had been five years ineffectually recommending 
the Academicians to do what was certainly as much their duty 

f. 9 to support as it was the duty of the president to propose. / He 
concluded this part of his discourse by exhorting them to save 
an Infant Academy from the disgraceful! appearance of expiring 
with the decrepitude of neglected old age. 

It is necessary here to mention that the Pres* had been 
informed that there was a party in the Academy who had resolved 
that M'" Edwards who was already an Associate should be the 
Professor whether he did or did not produce a specimen, and that 
they were resolved to unite in their votes in favour of any one of 
the Candidates, to prevent Bonomi from standing upon the same 
ground with M'' Edwards^ For this end they fixed their eyes 
on Mr. Gilpin an Artist of acknowledgd merit and certainly 
deserving their suffrages but it may be suspected that it was 

f. lo not to his merit at present but to a faction (in which he / most 
certainly had no concern), he was indebted for an equal number 
of Votes with Bonomi. It became then a very irksome task 
for the Pres*^ to be obliged to give the Casting Vote against him 
whom he would be glad to have favourd upon any other oc- 
casion. / 

f. 1 1 The Pres<^. therefore took this opportunity of expatiating on 
the propriety and even the necessity of the Candidates whoever 
they were, producing specimens of their abilities, and when those 
were before them [he hoped] that they would give their vote 
in favour of the most able Artist uninfluenced by friendship. 
Country or any other motive but merit. That the honour of the 
Academy depended upon the reputation of its members for 
Genius and abilities and [he] reprobated the Idea which had 
been adopted, as he had been informed by many Academicians 

^ Edwards, now chiefly known for his continuation of Walpole's 
Anecdotes of Paintings was already an Associate and was almost elected 
an Academician on 13 February, 1787 and on 10 March, 1788: had 
he succeeded, he would have been two steps above his rival. 

f. 12 


That great abilities, or being able to produce splendid Drawings, 
were not necessary. Such sentiments he said might be excused 
if he were / electing a person to teach Perspective in one of those 
boarding schools about London which are dignified with the 
name of Academys, but to be able to do well enough, was not the 
character of a Professor to a Royal Academy, which required its 
ornaments and decorations as well as what was merely necessary, 
that the highly ornamented ceiling of the room in which we were 
then assembled, sufficiently shews that Sir W"^. Chambers 
thought, and he thought justly that something more than what 
was merely necessary was required to a Royal Academy.^ 
/ upon the abilities [supra. Genius] and character of its members f. 5^ 
he reprobated the Idea tho it had been adopted as he understood 
by great Authority that great abilities or being able to produce 
splendid Drawings were not necessary and that moderate abilities 
were sufficient that Mr. Edwards was their friend, a very de- 
serving man & would do well enough. He reprobated Ideas 
which he said became those boarding schools in the environs of 
London that are dignified with the name of Academie[s] but 
did not become a member of a Royal Academy which required 
its ornament and decoration as well as what was more usefuU 
& necessary. 

He reminded them of the promise and the engagement they 
enterd into when they first receivd their Diploma[s] that they 
would do everything in their power for the honour and interest 
of the Academy that no private friendship or even relation should 
outweigh the duty and obligation which they owed to society — 
that Friendship however valuable, was likely from what he had 
observ'd / to be the bane of the Academy That the Academicians f. 6a 
when they voted for a member should consider themselves as 
Judges on the bench and as their^ decisions are influenced by 

^ Among the MSS. pertaining to the Discourses in the Academy is 
the following fragment (f. 48), which may have been written on the 
non-existent f. 4a: "Sir W^^ saying that a hired person will do well 
enough is as if in his own department he should say this unhewn block 
will support the Academy as well as a more ornamental one and ivill do 
we dont mind the look of it." 

^ I.e. the judges'. To bring this out Leshe itahcized "their", (ii, 564). 


justice alone an Acad[emician's] vote should be biassed solely 
by merit. He took notice of what a Member had said or more 
properly blab[b]ed at the Council, that he was convinced the 
vote he had given for Mr. Bonomi's antagonist he did not give 
according to his own Ideas of rectitude but that he had been 
sollicited and had promised & he thought it his duty to fulfill 
his promise.^ The Pres*. argued that those promises which are 
made inadvertantly and which are afterwards found to be con- 
f. 7a trary to a general duty and / previous engagement and promise 
made to the Society to which he belongs, ought not to be kept, 
and added he would venture to absolve them from such an obliga- 
tion. This Discourse had an effect on the hearers sufficient to 
ensure the election of Mr. B.* 

At this advantage acquired by B. that of his being on the same 
ground with Mr. Ed both being now Associates the friends of 
Mr. Edwards which indeed consisted of the whole Cabal Party the 
existence of which is so much to be lamented were in the most 
violent rage, [and] accused themselves of want of precaution in 
not bringing together the whole party on that day. Their activity 
was now doubly exerted to the utmost; like the upholtarer3 their 
own private business totally neglected for the public service.^ / 
f. 6a verso Having received certain intelligence of their intention of electing 
Mr. Edwlardsl I took an opportunity on the General Meeting to 

^ Was this John Bacon? See Letters, 191 ^/ seq. The Council at this 
time was made up of the following: Northcote, George Dance, Hodges, 
Opie, Barry, Bacon, Cosway, and Sir William Chambers. 

^ In his pocket-book for this date, 2 November, 1789, Reynolds has 
written in a bold hand, "Bonomi elected". 

3 Unable to decipher this word, Leslie (ii, 565) omits the phrase. 
Sir Joshua is referring to Addison's upholsterer {Tatler, nos. 155 and 160). 

4 After "public service" is a cross. I assume that upon reading the 
paragraph through Reynolds decided to insert a sentence. This was 
written on the back of the preceding page (the verso of f. 6 a), which 
would be the most convenient place to write it, and its position in the 
paragraph was indicated by the cross. He wrote the sentence which in 
my text follows "public service", but not liking it, crossed itout and began 
(still on the verso off. 6 a) the following paragraph ("All the Outhers", 
etc.). Upon re-reading this he determined to insert it at a later point in 
his account (see below, pp. 262 and 273), and consequently crossed 
this out also, writing on the left-hand margin off. 7a: "postponed". 


have a talk with the Acad, previous to the Election reminding them 
in General Terms of their duty — That merit and not friendship 
should influence their Votes. 

At this Election Mr. Edwards was proposed as a Candi\date'\ 
All the Outliers were sent to. Voters^ were summond from every 
quarter from whatever distance those who had for many years 
forsaken the Academy were present. the averidge number of a 
general meeting being about 1 8 there were no less than 30. Mr. 
Fuseli whom they advised to write a letter to the Council to j at last f. 7a (cont. 
they boasted under the various pretences, which I shall presently 
have occasion to mention they boasted of having secured a 
majority in favour of Mr. Edv^rards to be an Academician at the 
next election, about three months before the Election the Council 
in answer to a Letter receiv'd / from Mr. Edwards in which he f. 8a 
DEMANDED the liberty of giving a lecture to the Academy as 
his Specimen to shew how well he was qualified to be Professor, 
informed him that he "could not be consider'd as a Candidate 
to be an Acad^ in order to be Profess of Perspective unless he 
produced a Drawing", and added that the Election would be on 
the 10^^ of Feb.^ 

^ Originally followed by : " came from Windsor on purpose." Among 
others, the Sandbys lived at Windsor. 

^ This letter was read to the Council at the meeting on 1 1 December, 

"Novr 16^^ 1789 

"Mr. Edwards Compliments to the President & Council of the Royal 
Academy and thinks himself Obliged to demand their permission to give 
one lecture in Perspective, before the Academicians & Associates. 

"He will rest his success on the Judgment of Mr. Thomas Sandby, 
Mr. Richards, Mr. Rooker & Mr. Bonomi & a fifth Person who is not 
of the Academy which is Mr.T. Malton, Junior. E. considers this lecture 
as Probationary only & therefore does not expect that the Students should 
be present. 

"An Answer is Requested. 

"To the President & Council 
of the Royal Academy." 

The Secretary was ordered to send the following answer: 

"It is the unanimous Opinion of the Council, That whoever is a 

HR 17 


Mr. Edwards having been thus informed of the day he was to 
send his specimen, the President thought it his duty to inform 
Mr. Bonomi that his drawings might likewise be sent to the 
Academy on the lOth of Feb. The President had reason to 
expect he should find Mr. Ed[wards']s specimens at the Academy 
on that day, if he had not received a letter from Sir Wm. Chambers 
on Feb. 7 three days before the Election by which he was 
f. 9a informed that the business of filling up the / the vacancy & 
Chair of the Professor was to be entirely relinquishd, not- 
withstanding it was so far advanced thathe had "heartily 


ELECTION meaning the Professor can be necessary"^ / 
f. 8a verso that is, since Mr. Edwards is obliged to relinquish his pre- 
tensions of being a Candidate by the unlucky necessity of 
producing a Specimen, we are resolved that nobody else shall 
be Professor nay even a candidate, as will appear pre- 
sently from the disgracefuU manner in which Mr. Bonomi's 
f. 9a(cont.) drawings were turned out of the Academy. / and added, 
"as far as I am able to judge, there appear other names in 
the list of Associates, better qualified to serve the Academy 
in its highest stations and one of these shall certainly have my 

It must be remarked that Sir Wm. means by the highest 
station, a simple Academician, and thinks that any one qualified, 
in all points to be an Academician would never condescend to 
teach an inferior and mechanick branch of Art.^ whatever 
opinion Sir Wm. may entertain of the meaness of this Task of 
teaching what of course is in his estimation a mean Art I still 

Candidate to be an Academician, for the purpose of being hereafter 
Professor of Perspective must produce a Drawing. — & inform Mr. 
Edwards, that there will be an Election for an Academician, on y^ i o^h 
of Feby next." 

' After "necessary" is a cross. On the verso off. 8 a, the sentence that 
follows in the text is written, preceded by a cross. This passage is printed 
by Leslie (ii, 575) as a note for a speech to the Council. 

* "Turner did, however, condescend lo become the Professor of Per- 
spective" {Leslie and Taylor^ ii, 566 n.). 


apprehend that^ / not only those Drawings which are of Mr. f. 8a v 
B'[s] invention shew him to be an able Architect, there are if 
Sir W"^ will take the trouble of inquire other works of his real 
building done upon his designs and under his direction which 
put him I apprehend upon the first class in his Profession as an 
Architect, at least qualified to be an Academician on that ground 
and from which his additional knowledge of Perspective ought 
so far fro [not] exclude [him]. To do great works in Perspective 
he must be an / 

However^ Sir W"^ thought different tho formerly joined in f. gax 
opinion with the President that Heaven and Earth ought to 
be moved to fill this place in order that the Academy may not 
suffer the disgrace in so early a stage of its existence as not to 
be able to fill up its Vacancy, and to prevent the appear[ance] 
of an Academy in its infancy having the appearance of decay or 
neglected being kept in repair. Now [he] tells the President in 
a letter that the business is now not only to be postponed but 
the plan of having a Professor at all abandoned altogether. 


ASSOCIATE 3 or even in the hands of a Stranger, duly qualified 

^ This is the last word on the page. Leslie, not finding a continuation 
at the beginning of a new page, omitted the entire sentence. The con- 
tinuation, I believe, was made at the bottom of the verso of f. 8 and is 
given here as I think Reynolds intended it. He says that whether or not 
the teaching of perspective is mean, Bonomi deserves to be made an 
Academician on his abilities as an architect. The part of the passage 
which is on the verso of f. 8 is printed separately, and not accurately, 
by Leslie (ii, 575) as a note for a speech to the Council. Judging by 
Reynolds's habit throughout this MS. of writing insertions on the verso 
of the preceding page, I feel that I am justified in placing this passage 
where I have. The ending is illegible, but the meaning is apparent. 

^ This paragraph begins a folio number 9 X. I have inserted it between 
fF. 9 and 10, believing that Reynolds wrote it after f. 10 and for this 
reason numbered it "9X". 

3 The "Ingenious Associate" was Edwards. He had offered to teach 
Perspective on 10 October, 1788, had appeared before the Council on 
14 November, and had drawn up a syllabus of his lectures. On 12 De- 
cember, it was resolved "That twenty Lecons in Perspective be given 
during the Winter Months. Viz*^ beginning in October Sc ending when 



Sir Wm. in this letter using the plural number (we), marked 
sufficiently that he had enlisted himselfe under the banner of 
this resolute partizan Mr. Tyler who had courage to dare any- 
thing, to brow-beat the President in his Chair; and I am sorry 
to add Sir Wm. held up his hand to support the motion which, 
this daring man made / 

f. loa In my answer, without entering into the Question whether 
this Professorship was or was not a mean employment or a need- 
less office in the Academy, I insisted that a law in our Institu- 
tions signed by the King which expressly says — "There shall 
be a Professor of Perspective" must be observed as our rule of 
Conduct till this law was regularly repeald by the Council That 
in regard to his not thinking " it necessary to elect an Academician 
merely to teach Perspective" — I beg leave to remind Sir W"^. 
that he himself was the person who first proposed this Expedient^ 
— of searching for some person and electing him expressly 
qualified for this purpose, since no Academician would accept of 
it However Sir W"^. had now for reasons best known to himself 

f. iia had changed his mind / any person and now appears Indifferent 
to whom he should give his Vote with the exception only of 
Mr Bonomi — and to do him justice he was allways steady in his 
opposition to him. / 
f. loaverso In^ a previous letter to this Feb 3d Sir W^. Ch[amber]s 
had I confess irritated me a little by thinking proper to 
reprimand me for having given what he called a Charge to the 
Academicians. That he was sorry to hear the P- accused of being 

the Academy closes for the Exhibition; and that he be paid one Pound 
ten shillings for each Attendance which shall be at least two Hours once 
a week." It was further resolved, "That the Lecons. . .begin on the 
first Tuesday after the opening of the Academy Viz*^ Tuesday 13th 
Jany 1789." Under this arrangement Edwards was Teacher of Per- 
spective. He wished to be Professor, for which he had to be an Acade- 
mician, instead of a mere Associate. He continued to teach his course, but 
was never promoted. 

^ Cf ante, p. 251, f. 4. 

^ Presumably Reynolds, after writing f. 1 1, decided to add a paragraph 
here. After "opposition to him" he made a cross. The page opposite 
him would have been, I believe, the verso off. 10 a, where, preceded 
by a cross, is the paragraph which here follows. 


influenced by such undue applications ] That'' he was sorry to hear f. 9a verao 
of Peers^ interfering in our little Academical concerns. That 
he was still more sorry to hear the P accused of being influenced 
by such undue applications The hauteur of this repremand 
I confess a little mortified my pride / that the Electors being all ^- loa ™° 
competent judges of the business before [them] a Charge from 
the President could hardly be deemed necessary, and must have 
been as unpleasing to those who had the right to elect as injurious 
to all who had the chance of being elected, that some Cat I had 
inadvertently let out of the bag at the last general meeting has 
so offended W. C. What this Cat alluded to, I desired an explana- 
tion — but got no other answer than that it was really a very 
innocent beast carelessly let out of the Bag — As to their 3 
being competent judges I never disputed but I still thought it 
necessary that those judges should have materials before [them]4 
for their judgment to be exercised, and indeed my requiring 
it and enforcing it properly make a part of what Sir W™. called 
a Charge / 

When the loth of Feb arrived, I went to the Academy f. na 
prepared by Sir Wm.['s] letter to meet with a so formidable (^°'^^-) 
opposition that I told some of my friends &c which I was far 
from considering despicable now Sir W"^ Chambers had thought 
proper to give them his Countenance he was himself a host 5 
however I flatterd myself that I should be able to persuade the 
majority not to relinquish a business which they themselves had 

^ Having written the verso off. loa he read it over, I assume, and 
decided to add a few more sentences. He crossed out the sentence "That 
he was sorry" etc., and rewrote it on the verso off. 9a, which (before 
f. 9 ax had been written) would have been the nearest blank page. He 
has not marked this with the usual cross, but the context of the addition 
places it here. 

^ Alluding to Lord Aylesford's interest in Bonomi. Cf. post, 
p. 271. 

3 After "their" he has inserted "Acad[emicians]". 

4 Supra "to enable them to be competen[t] judge[s]". 

5 This passage bewildered Leslie, possibly because it is crowded into 
a small space, "host" is of course used in the sense of "army". Leslie 
(ii, 570) read it as "hopt" (hoped), which made the passage so confusing 
that he omitted most of it. 

f. 1 2a 


now taken up & so far advanced. — When I enterd the Academy 
I begun to change my opinion confidence. A greater number than 
ever appeard I suspected that this number was not in my favor 
f. loa verso (see opposite)7 ' / it did not proceed from zeal in supporting 
oppressd merit but that they were drawn together by the head 
of that party which to do them justice, both by their personal 
application and sollicitation by letter had shewn an action that 
f. iia would have done them honour if exerted in a better cause / The 
(cont.) whole appearance was new to me seeopp Instead of the members 
as usual stra[g]gling about the room, they were allready seated in 
perfect order and with the most profound silence. I went directly 
to the Chair and looking round for the Candidates drawings 
I at last spyed those of Mr. Bonomi thrust in the darkest corner 
at the farthest end of the room I then desired the Secretary to 
place them on the side tables where they might be seen. He at 
first appeard not to hear me. I repeated my request. He then 
rose and in a sluggish manner walked to the / the other end of the 
room (passing the drawings) rung the bell and then stood with 
his folded arms in the middle of the room; Observing this 
extraordinary conduct of the Secretary, I found he had joined the 
Party which I considered as a rebellion in him not I rose from 
my seat and took one of the Drawings in my hand and a — ^ 
took the other and placed them on the Tables, the Secretary 
who has thought proper to join the party which in reality may 
be called in regard to him, rebellion not deigning to touch them 
he only said he had rung the bell for the servant, which servant 
it is curious to remark (as it shews their rude spirit and gross 
manners of this cabal 3) was to mount that long flight of steps in 
order to move two drawings from one side of the room to the 

^ The brackets are mine. Leslie (ii, 570) changed "see" to "but". 
However, opposite Reynolds at this time was the verso of f. 10 a, on 
which appears the sentence which follows in my text. Possibly the figure 
"7" means that the note opposite f. 7 a was to be inserted here (see above, 
p. 256), or the same note which again appears on the verso of f. 7 b (see 
below, p. 273). 

^ Blank in MS. Leshe (ii, 571 n.) suggests "servant". 

3 "of this cabal" is inserted above the line as an afterthought. 


The drawings were now placed where they could be seen, 
tho no Academician except Mr. T. Sandby deign'd to rise from 
the seat to look at them.^ 

The President having resumed 
his seat opend the business of 
their Meeting That it was to 
choose an Academician in the 
room of Mr. Meyers^ that he 
should not now take up their time 
by repeating / what he had so 
often recommended that they 
would put aside every Candidate 
and turn their eyes on him who 
was qualified and willing to accept 
of the Office of Professor of 
Perspective which had been vacant 
so many years, to the great dis- 
grace of the Academy. That as 
Mr. Bonomi's rival by not sending 
to the Academy a Specimen of his 
abilities appeared to have declined 
the contest He hoped, hoped he 
confessed rather than expected 
that the Votes for the honour of 
the Academy would be unani- 
mous on this occasion 3 that they 
would consider the Question 
before them as Ay or No, is 
the Author of those drawings, 
which are on the table Qualified 
or not qualified for the office he 
sollicits. / 

^ The passage printed in the right-hand column is taken from two 
unnumbered sheets which I found in the Minutes of the General 
Assembly for 10 February, 1790. It is in Reynolds's handwriting, and 
the paper bears the same watermark as do the other sheets used in the 
Apologia. Whether Reynolds himself left this in the book or not is impos- 
sible to determine. The account of the meeting as given by the Secretary 
is far less full than either of the two given here. 

^ Jeremiah Meyer died 20 January, 1789. 

3 Several sentences have been crossed out at this point. 

The Pres^ open'd the busi- 
ness of the meeting, that it was 
to choose an Academician in 
the room of Mr. Meyer — that 
he need not repeat what he had 
so often said at former meetings, 
the necessity of filling up the 
place of Professor of Perspec- 
tive which had been so long 
vacant to the great disgrace of 
the Academy. Mr. Bonomi, as 
they all knew had been many 
Years a candidate for that place, 
And, as the Academicians had 
at last taken this business up by 
Electing him an Associate for 
this very purpose, His drawings 
now were on the table for their 
inspection. — And as his rival 
Mr. Edwards appear'd to have 
declin'd the contest from his 
not sending a specimen, He 
hoped the Question before 
them would be. Ay or No — was 
he, or was he not qualified for 
the office. / 




DOWN, Mr. Tyler an academ- 
ician WHO IS & HAS BEEN 

DEMANDED in a peremptory tone 

DENT SAID I DID. I move that 
they be sent out or turned out of 
the room. Does any one second 
this motion — Mr. Barry rose with 
great indignation No says he 
Nobody can be found so lost to 
all shame as to dare to second so 
infamous a Motion. Drawings 
that would do honour to the 
greatest Academy that ever ex- 
isted in the world &c. he said 
much more with great vehemence. 
Mr. Banks with great quietness 
seconded the motion On the 
shew of hands a great majority 
appeared for their expulsion The 
President then rose to explain to 
them the propriety of Mr. Bon- 
omi's drawings being there, to 
oppose^ Mr. Edwards['s] which 
were expected and orderd by the 
Council but he was interrupted 
f. isa from various quarters / that the 
business was over, they would hear 
no explanation, that it was irre- 
gular Mr. Copley said to talk 
upon business that was past & 

I Leslie (ii, 573) prints "with", 
altered it to the present reading. 

Mr. Tyler demanded by 
whose authority the drawings 
were sent to the Academy. — 

The President answer'd, by 

Mr. Tyler then moved that 
those Drawings should be put 
out of the room, — 

this motion was seconded by 
Mr. Banks. The Question being 
then put — was carried by a great 
majority. — 

The President afterwards 
endeavourd to explain, 

but being refused a hearing — 

Reynolds had written this, but 


determin'd. The Prest. acquiesced he immediately proceeded to 
and they proc[e]eded in^ the Elec- the Election, &c &c. 
tion when Mr. Fusely^ a very in- 
genious Artist but no Candidate for the Professors Chair — was 
elected an Academician by a majority of 22 against 83 the next 
Morning The President resign'd by letter to the Secretary both 
his Precedency and his seat as Academician. / 

Having^ now finished my relati[o]n of the cause that induced f. ib 
me to take this step I cannot conclude without obviating a 
suspicion that I think will naturally arise in every readers mind, 
that something is still conceild, that an implicit confidence ought 
not to be granted to him who tells his own story.5 A[s] great a 
majority of any society cannot be imagine[d] so preposterously 
to unite in opposing the interest of that Society, in which its 
existence depen[ds;] to treat their principal officer with un- 
provoked insolence setting their face against the admission of 

^ Leslie (ii, 573) prints "to", but Reynolds had altered this to "in". 

^ Sir Joshua's sincerity in calling Fuseli "very ingenious" is corro- 
borated by the anecdote related by John Knowles {Life and Writings of 
Henry Fuseli^ London, 1831, i, 43). After seeing some of his drawings, 
Reynolds assured him that "were he at his age, and endowed with the 
ability of producing such works, if any one were to offer him an estate 
of a thousand pounds a-year, on condition of being anything but a painter, 
he would, without the least hesitation, reject the offer". From the same 
source (i, 178) we learn that Fuseli, "who had always been treated with 
great kindness by Sir Joshua", called on him to solicit his vote in this 
election. "The President received him with politeness, acknowledged 
the claims which he had to the distinction of an Academician, from the 
great talents which he possessed, and which no man appreciated more 
than himself; but he said 'Were you my brother, I could not serve you 
on this occasion, for I think it not only expedient, but highly necessary 
for the good of the Academy that M. Bonomi should be elected:' and 
he added, *on another vacancy, you shall have my support'. Fuseli in 
answer, thanked Sir Joshua for his candour, and hoped if he tried his 
friends on this occasion, he would not be offended. To this the President 
said, 'Certainly not'." 

3 Cfpost,^^. 273 n. 4. _ 

4 This folio bears the heading (crossed out) : "Approac[h]ing to a 
conclusion." For "conclusion" he substituted "last part". 

5 "He that writes an apology for a single action, to confute an accusa- 
tion, to recommend himself to favour, is indeed always to be suspected 
of favouring his own cause." {Idler no. 84.) 


acknowledged Genius & abilities into the Academ[y] not even 
suffering it [to] remain in their presence. Can it be conceivd 
unless their passion[s] were irritated by^ some irregular or over- 
bearing tyrannical conduct in the President, so that it was 
irksome to them to do even their duty under such circum- 
stance [s?] Such a successful rebellion loses its name and is stampt 
with the sanction of lawful reformation or revolution there must 
be that it is a violent assumption to suppose that Mr West the 
most distinguishd names in the Academy men of high reputa- 
tion in their several professions should be incited by a few of the 
most inconsiderable members who perhaps had no other object 
at first in view than to elevate themselves into some consequence 
in the Academy conscious of their own nothingness out if it. / 
f. ibx That^ appearances are against me I fairly acknowledge, and 
indeed is additional for making this apology to the public I mean 
the appearance of probability that on a question where there is 
no interest, no resentment supposed to operate as a biass to the 
judgment, of a majority of I2 in 30 Voters is a presumption in 
its favour. There are likewise other circumstances which I shall 
mention in the course of this narrative wh[ich] according to the 
representation [of] some of my good friends in the Academ[y] 
will appear not much \n my favour / 
f. 2b I must leave these respectable Aca[demicians] to account for 
their own conduct. 3 I have naturally turned my thoughts to 

^ Originally he had written "Can it be conceived without some 
irregular", etc. What is given here was inserted after "without". He 
neglected to cross out "without". 

^ This passage is on a half-sheet pinned to f. i b. 

3 At least one member did this. A 29-page pamphlet, entitled: 
Observations on the present state of the Royal Academy . . .ly an old Artist, 
a copy of which is in my possession, appeared at this time, giving the 
story of the dispute from the other side. One sentence will show the 
spirit of the article: "Indeed, he had been so long in the habit of dictating 
from his gilded chair, and had been so continually flattered by the sub- 
mission of those over whom he presided, that, perhaps, he chose rather 
to hazard a falsehood, though degrading to his honour, than suffer 
a diminution of that dignity which was so dear to his pride " (pp. 6 et seq.) . 
The "falsehood" was Reynolds's assertion that Edwards had declined 
to become a candidate. Reynolds makes it clear he meant that because 
Edwards had refused to obey the Council it was to be inferred that he was 


endeavouring to investigate their motives, how such a majority 

could be incited to take so active a part in this business, for it 

was [not] a mere lukewarm opposition to Bonomi, as appears 

from Members being sent at twenty miles distance and from 

the presence of others who had not attended for many years 

till call'd upon by this great occasion, and justice to them 

obliges me to add the Authority the[y] acquired by being able 

to add the name of Sir W. C. to their party who[m] no body can 

suppose not to have the interest of the Academy at heart from 

whose interference it owes in a great measure even its existence 

and from^ / whose support this party acquired without a tower f. ib verso 

of strength / By this Statement, no doubt appearances are against f. 2b(cont.) 

the Pr[esident]. He cannot reasonably expect such perfect 

confidence from the world in his favour — [that] like Uriel he 

only is 

faithful found 
Amongst the faithless, faithful only He 
Amongst innumerable false.^ 

— This is too much to be allowed to humanity, such indul- 
gence[s] would imply an unwarra[n]ted partiality to the President^ 
any individual who do[es] / not think it worth while to enter f. ib verso 
in to the Causes but know[s] only the effect / 

no longer a candidate. Northcote, referring in his autobiography to this 
article, writes: "Mr. Fuseli is shrewdly suspected of having had a con- 
siderable hand in composing the pamphlet." (Gwynn's Memorials of 
an Eighteenth Century Painter, London, 1898, 217.) 

^ Leslie (ii, 577) does not complete the sentence because it is left 
unfinished on f. 2 b. Apparently Reynolds had originally intended to 
end the sentence with "existence". He then desired to add the concluding 
phrase, writing "and from". There was no room for more on this page, 
since, presumably, he had already written the next sentence; he therefore 
completed the phrase on the verso of f. i b. 

^ Paradise Lost, v, 896-8. Leslie (ii, 577 n.) notes that the quotation 
refers to Abdiel, not Uriel. 

3 Leslie (ii, 577) ends the sentence with "the President", though 
Reynolds crossed it out. This was done, I imagine, because he could not 
make sense of what remains undeleted. Since there was not room at the 
bottom of the page to finish the sentence, Reynolds completed it on the 
verso of f. i b. 



f. ibx verso P shall only state what I have heard myself openly given or 
[what I have been] informed by letters as reasons against Bonomi 
if there are other causes let the person whom the Party have 
chosen for their leader Sc spokesman stand forth and convince 
the world that his insulting the President in his Chair was 
reasonable & proper & no more than what his conduct deserved 
as appears from the great support that motion received / 

f- 3b Second Part 

I shall now mention what appear to be the cause or causes 
that operated in this opposition to Bonomi, for variety of reasons 
have been given out by this party, if one will not affect the 
purpose, another shall, to different Men different reasons have 
been used to lend their assistance but they all centerd in this object 
tha[t] Bonomi should not be the Man. To explain this it is 
necessary to go back a few years when this combination first made 
its appearance in the Academy, not composed of the most con- 
siderable Artists but of men in a manner unknown out of the 
Academy — they still made a formidable phalanx by their union 
in it every Election was being determined according to their 
pleasure.^ When at the / 
f. 4b The first objection made against Mr. Bonomi was that he was 
a Foreigner (which indeed could not be denied) This extra- 
ordinary objection was first started by Sir William Chambers in 
Council. He asked the P. in a peevish tone why he would 
persevere in favour of this Foreigner 3 hut recollecting that a 

^ This passage is written on a half-sheet and pinned on the verso of 
f. lb. 

^ After "pleasure" he had begun another sentence, but crossed it out 
and put in its place a cross with four dots in the openings. Before the 
first sentence of f. 4 b appears this same mark, which clearly indicates 
that it was to follow. 

3 Reynolds started to write "and he added, not". He deleted this 
and began again with "but recollecting", etc. This he crossed out, saving 
it until a few sentences later. 

John Francis Rigaud served on the Council during the years 1786 
and 1787. Sir William's term was from 1785 to the beginning of 1787, 
which indicates that this objection was voiced in 1786. 


Foreigner Mr. Rigaud was present he added^ not that I have any 
objection to Foreigners^ hut that it will appear to the world as if 
no Englishman could be found capable of filling a Professors 
Chair. This speech I heard with great surprise and I confess 
with some indignation in hearing a sentiment which appeared 
to me so illiberal, and so unworthy the person it came from, 
added to the impudence of insinuating such [a thing] as an aver- 
sion of Foreigners in the presensce of Mr. Rigaud who was then 
one of the Council, my anxiety for his feeling on this occasion 
is indeed the cause of its being impressed on my remembrance that 
he was present at this meeting of the Council. / on^ my remem- f. 5b 
brance of his being present. 

This idea about Foreigners meeting with congenial minds 
and acquiring this strength from the authority of Sir Wm, they 
now openly avowed sentiments which before they felt some 
shame publicly to acknowledge and which were smothered under 
an auk[w]ard suspicion^ of their illiberality. I took an oppor- 
tunity at a General meeting, to endeavour [to] do away [with] 
this prejudice against Foreigner[s] that it was an Idea but just 
now adopted by some Academicians but that it was by no means 
acknowledged in the laws & principles of our institution as 
appears by our having already received into the Academy six 
[as] Academician[s] That our Royal 3 Academy, with great 
propriety made no distinction between Natives & Foreigners, 
that it was not our business to examine where [a] Genius was 
born before he was admitted in to our society, it was sufficient that 
the Candidate had merit & that the Candidate 4 set up his Staff 
amongst us. As in the present Case of Mr. Bonomi who has resided 

^ This phrase, beginning a new page, is merely another way of 
expressing the same thought. Either this or the preceding phrase "on 
my remembrance that he was present", etc., should have been deleted. 

^ Reynolds had written "conscientiousness", which was not deleted. 

3 Originally "That an Academy", "an" is not crossed out, "All 
that the Academy has ever required is that its members should be resident 
in Great Britain" {Leslie and Taylor^ ii, 568 n.). As a matter of fact, 
one fourth of the 36 original members of the Academy were foreigners. 
(See Hodgson and Eaton, The Royal Academy and its Members, London, 
1905, 84.) 

4 "that Mr. Bonomi" deleted. 



f. 5 b verso 

f.;6b (cont.) 

f. 6b (cont 

here upwards more than 25 years, was not a temporary sojourner 
f. 6b amongst us / having resided here 25 years and [being] master 
of the English [language], I might have added that he prob[ab']ly 
has been in England as many years as Sir JVm Chambers himself 
before he was an Academician how many years Sir JVm. has been 
in England I never was informed.^ /Sir Wm himself perhaps 
begun to reflect that the objection to Foreigners was peculiarly 
improper from him / 

The chief argument used for not admitting Foreigners into 
the Academy was, that it would be no longer an English Acad- 
emy. I combated this opinion likewise with every argument that 
I could suggest I reminded the Academicians that this institution 
was formed for the Students, our successors and not for our- 
f. 5b verso selves. / that^ the world concerns itself with the state of Arts in 
the Nation not of the state of the Academicians of whom the 
public little care where or when they were born / The intent 
of the institution was to raise a School of Arts in this Nation that 
if we could accelerate their growth by foreign manure it was our 
f. 6bx duty to use it, without any retrospect used upon ourselves / That 3 
if anything was to be inferd from a single instance our Neigh- 
bours the French behaved with more liberality and good sense 
and as an instance sa[i]d that when I was in Paris about 20 
years ago I dined with the director of the Gob[e]lins, who was 
a Scot[s]man tho on this Manufacture we all know the 
French plumes themselves as much upon as their Academy^ 

^ Leslie (ii, 569) prints this sentence and rightly asserts that it was 
crossed out in the MS. But he does not mention the fact that directly 
opposite this (on the verso of f. 5 b), and undeleted, is the sentence 
which follows in the text. Sir Joshua's statement here refers to the fact 
that Sir William was born in Stockholm. 

^ After "ourselves" is a cross. On the opposite page (the verso of 
f. 5 b) is the sentence here given. For some reason Leslie (ii, 569) omits 
half a page of the MS. at this point. 

3 This sentence begins a folio numbered "6x". Folios 5b and 6b 
are, unlike all the others (except ff. 1-2 b), joined together, the others 
being separate sheets. I imagine that Reynolds numbered this particular 
foho "6" because the previous "f. 6" was joined to f. 5, and that 
noticing this oversight later, he added the "x". 

4 In the autumn of 1768 Reynolds went to Paris with William. Burke. 
In his diary for Tuesday, 11 October, Reynolds has written, "Mr. 


Tho this aversion of a foreigner may be justly suspected still 
to lurk in the bosoms of our Royal Academicians yet it is 
kept under and utter'd only in a whisper. I take therefore so 
much credit to myself that the Academy has not been lately 
disgraced by any act founded [upon] an open avowal of such 
illiberal opinions/ 

The speech of Sir Wm. relating to Foreigners sufficiently 
explain\s'\ his uniform opposition to Mr, Bonomi in a letter from 
Sir Wm. he says he acknowledges [that he] had no partiality to any 
body else^ he was for any \ 

The catch-word Foreigner was now no longer considerd as f- 7b 
[an] ostensible reason for opposition to B. and in its place was 
now substituted another that it was notoriously known that 
Bonomi he was under the Patronage and Protection of a noble 
Earl for whom I have too great respect to mention his name 
upon this trivial occasion.^ This as well as his being a Foreigner 
was but two true and has never been denied, but what in the name 
of goodness would these Gent[lemen] be at To be serious, 
Is it to be a fixed principal with the members of the Academy 
to set their faces against every artist that has had the good fortune 
to find a Patron to renounce a Candidate for any office of the 
Academy of whom any man thinks well / Is 3 it a duty of an f. 6bx verso 
Academician befor[e] he gives his vote or determines his 
opinion of his merit, first to enquire where he was born or who 

Nelson". James, or Jacques, Neilson was one of the "entrepreneurs" 
at the Gobelins, the famous establishment for the manufacture of tapestry. 
He was not, as Reynolds asserts, director. "Parmi les entrepreneurs, 
il en est un qui domine les autres par I'initiative, I'intelligence, 
I'activite, et les qualites professionnelles, c'est Neilson ... II etait ^^cossais 
de nationahte." (Gerspach, La Manufacture Nationale des Gobelins, 
Paris, 1892, 78.) 

^ Above "opinions" Reynolds has written "sentiment". Neither has 
been crossed out. 

^ The Right Honourable Heneage Finch, fourth Earl of Avlesford 
(1751-1812), Lord Steward of the Household, Reynolds thrice painted 
his portrait {Graves and Cronin, i, 39). His name is written in Reynolds's 
pocket-book for 10 February, the day of the election, as well as for 
16 February. 

^ After "well" is a cross. On the opposite page (the verso off. 6bx), 
similarly designated, is the sentence which is given here. 



f. 7b(cont.) first recommended him / The first intelligence which I had of 
this new reason of opposition to Mr. Bonomi, that he was 
patronised by a nobleman I receiv'd in a letter by Sir Wm. 

Chambers. He begins with these words ^ which to me 

were then totally incomprehensible nor did I know but by 
enquiry what was alluded to by this^ extraordinary sentence, 

or how it affected me. He proceeds — / am still more sorry 

and concludes that it would be more honour to himself and credit 
to his friends or his friends friend that he should not come in 
to the Academy by violence and dint of powerfull protection. / 

f. 6bx verso there were other insinuations which I could now explain — my 

(cont.) f|.jgj^jg meaning me or friends friend meaning the noble 

f. 8b Earl. / what I here stated were the reasons given with a view to 
their preference to Tho it was in Mr. Edwards favour that 
[he was] neither a foreigner nor had the disgrace of having 
[a] Patron.3 / 

f. 7b verso They were now of opinion that Perspective might be better 
taught by Lecture than by Example. His friends 4 advised 
him therefore to write to the Council to demand the liberty 
of giving a Lecture instead of a specimen to them. This he did 
accordingly and his friend [s] supported an opinion that a man 
shews his abilities better by a lecture than by drawing better 

by being able to talk than being able to do I [would] ask 

one of this party whether if he was to put his son an apprentice, 
he would choose for his master the man who was able to execute 
great works or the man who was able to talk about it. [I would 
have had them consider] That the students were our Children and 

^ Blank in MS. 

* Reynolds originally wrote "those", but altered it to "this". In order 
to make it more grammatical Leslie, who prints "those" (ii, 570), has 
changed the rest of the sentence. In the same place Leslie asserts that 
the following sentence is "quite illegible" and crossed out. Only the 
first part is deleted. I give the rest as it is in the MS. The sentence 
beginning "there were other" is on the page opposite Reynolds, but 
obviously follows. 

3 After "Patron" is a cross. On the opposite page (the verso off. 7 b) 
is a similar mark followed by the passage which Leshe (ii, 561) inserts 
in the first part of the narrative. 

^ I.e., Edwards's. For the letter see ante, p. 257 n. 2. 


it was our duty to provide for them the best of masters and not 
to make that wretched conclusion that because a man was 
excellent in works he therefore is deficient in teaching. / and f. 8b (cont.) 
that Mr. Ed[wards] should be forced to relinquish his pretensions 
by the demand of a specimen put the whole Party^ in a ferment / 
All^ the outlyers were requested under ^various pretenses from what- f. 7b verso 
ever distance to attend this important day of [February] lOth, 
those who had not entered the Academy for many years were now 
brought together the averidge of the number of a General meeting 
is about 1 8 there were now present 30 of which Mr. Fuseli had 
22 in his favour. I must beg leave to add that however high my 
opinion is of Mr. Fuseli s merit and of his deserving this distinction^ 
it was still owing to their determined opposition to Bonomi j and f. 8b (cont.) 
the last resolution of the Cabal was, That since Mr. Ed[wards] 
could not be elected nobody else should The place should 
continue to lye dormant and they agreed to give their Vote to 
Mr. Fuseli, who tho' undoubtedly very deserving of that dis- 
tinction yet very problably even his merit would not have 
drawn so many member[s] together and from such distance — a 
greater number than were ever known to have been assembled 
upon any other occasion if their activity had not been instigated^ 
by other motives than zeal for his honour — what makes me to 
think it he had now, out of 30 22^ Votes in his favour, and in a 
former election he had only — 5 & M"". Hamilton was elected. / 
So far was I from wishing to oppose ill success [to] Mr. Fuseli, f. 9b 

^ I have omitted "were" which stands between "Party" and "in". 
Reynolds changed the construction of the sentence, inserting "put". 

* After "ferment" is a cross. Perhaps it marks the place where the 
passage which follows in my text was to be inserted. This passage is 
opposite, but was crossed out. Cf. ante, pp. 257 and 262. 

3 Above "instigated" he has written "quikend". Neither is deleted. 

'^ Sir Joshua's figures are not quite correct. In the first ballot Fuseli 
led with 19 votes. Bonomi received 8, Humphry 2, Edwards i, and 
Bourgeois i. The second ballot was therefore between Bonomi and 
Fuseli alone. The former secured 9, the latter 21. The error in Leslie's 
note (ii, 574) is due to a misprint. 

5 Blank in MS. Sir Joshua refers to the election held 10 February, 
1789, when in the first ballot Hamilton received 15 votes, Bourgeois 7, 
and Fuseli 5. 

HR 18 


that I believe I was the first who advised him to be a Candidate 
at the time he was elected Associate^ as I considerd his talents 
would be an acquisition to the Academy, but I thought it a more 
incumbent duty on a President to make the Academy that 
itself his object, to make that whole & complete, [rather] 
than from private friendship electing^ a simple Academitian tho 
he should [be] the greatest ornament of the Art that ever existed.3/ 
lob I had the honour of receiving the thanks of the Academy 


discharged my duty.4 But as if some daemon still preserved his 
Influence in this Society, that nothing should be right[l]y done, 
those Thanks were not signed by the Chairman according to 
regularity & cust[o]m but by the Secretary alone and sent to the 
Ex President in the manner of a Common Note closed with a 
Waver and without even an Envelope and presented to the 
Ex president by the hands of the common arrant boy of the 
A[cademy,] not as a Resolution but the Secretary was desired 
only to inform. and5 to make this motion still more ridiculous 
it was made by M r. Tyler and seconded by M r. Banks Whether 
this was studied neglect or ignorance of propriety I have no means 
of knowing, but so much at least may be discoverd that the 
Persons who have now taken upon them[s]elves the direction 
of a Royal Academy are as little versed in the little requisites of 
civil intercourse, as they appear to be unknowing of the more 
substantial interest and true honour of that society of which they 
are member[s.]/^ 

^ Cf.ante,^. 265 n. 2. Thisstatementis re-enforced by Knowles (op. cit. 
i, 1 59), where it is said that Reynolds and Boydell endeavoured to make 
him enter his name as a candidate. 

^ "electing" is crossed out in the MS., but Sir Joshua changed his 
sentence and would have been forced to restore it. 

3 This folio has been cut ofFin the middle and pinned on a blank folio. 
I believe that what was written on the rest of the page would have been 
connected with folio i o b, which follows in the text. 

'^ Passed at the meeting of the General Assembly, 3 March. 

5 The rest of this sentence is written as a footnote. 

^ Here, seemingly, the second part of the Apologia ends. On the 
verso of this folio is an endorsement which might serve as title for this 
part: "Detail of circumstances relating to the matter of Bonomi — &c 



f. (i)c 

I would now ask any person whether I can ever flatter myself 
with being any longer of use when I am not suflFerd even to keep 
the Acad[emy] in repair 

To venture myself with a set of men the majority of which 
either from weakness or malevolence ar[e] so ready to be led 
away and enlist under the banner of what ever be led to wher- 
ever impudent boldness will undertake to direct them / P f. (2)0 
cannot act with such a majority and that majority encreasing 
every [? day;] the Elections are already in their hands and I am 
sorry to see so much timidity where I expected more firmness — 
so lit[t]le sagacity in not seeing the real Interest of their / I did f. (2)0 verso 
not quit my station because I could not persuade the Aca[demi- 
cians to] defend the garrison to the last and dye in the breach 
even after Sir W"^. Chamb[ers] had deserted the defence and and 
had joind in the attack but by their junction they were so insultingly 
triumphant insolent which this inspired them with that I 
fear it did accelerate my resignation / The filling this place had f. (3)0 
occupied the attention of the Academy for some months past — 
This business of filling the Profess [or ship] was fairly taken up 
and was now before them both from [? the Institution] & Council 
I still heard from all sides That Mr. Edwards was to be the Man 
whether he produced a drawing or not. However this scheme 
as I before observ'd was abandon'd but four days before the 
Election Our little book of the Institution was to be laid on the 
shelf as useless. Sir JV^ gave many reasons why the business 

Justification — ." The pages which follow in my text are, except for the 
final one, unnumbered. They are less finished even than the pages which 
have preceded, and the order in which they here appear is most question- 
able. I have simply grouped them at the end because they do not fit 
in earlier, and because some of them were obviously intended to be used 
in the conclusion. Since Sir Joshua was prevailed upon to return to the 
Academy as president about a month after he had resigned, there was no 
necessity for him to conclude the paper. 

^ I have omitted the first part of this folio, most of which is crossed out. 
It begins: "After Rubiliac Mr. Bacons Lecture The students are our 
Children It's our duty to give them such masters as we would give to 
our son" {cf. ante^ f. 7b verso, on p. 272). 



should not only be postponed but the Idea of having a Professor 
abandoned j 
f. (4)c The whole Fabric the work of years was shaken to its very 
foundation and all its glory tarnishd / 
f. (4) c verso The Politician who shall read this account will envy the little 
attention to the general Interest even to its destruction provided 
they can raise themselves into consideration 

Men who have been used to lay[ing] down the law in Ale- 
houses to Masons & Bricklayers presume to interfere in a higher 
station where he has crept in by mere accident / 
f. 5c I beg leave to guard myself against it being said hereafter 
that I retired from the Academy in disgust because I could not 
bring the majority of the Academy to adopt my opinions, I would 
ask^ is it a matter of opinion from duty whether it is the duty 
of the Academy to vote for the filling [of] this place and the 
Presidents to endeavour to put in force the laws of the Institu- 
tion [?] / 

^ Leslie (ii, 576) reads "assist", which makes no sense. Perhaps it 
could be read as follows : " I would ask it as a matter of opinion — whether ' \ 
etc. The page, filled with interlineations and deletions, is extremely 
difficult to decipher. It has been numbered "5" by Sir Joshua. 



"I have not courage enough to appear in public without 
your imprimatur." Sir Joshua to Johnson [? 1777]. 

To include a formal bibliography in such a study as this requires 
no apology. The information which follows sheds additional 
light on Sir Joshua's literary career. Previous attempts at pre- 
paring a bibliography of the writings of Reynolds have been 
limited to a mere listing of various editions and are marked by 
extraordinary errors of omission and commission. 

I have here included everything written by Sir Joshua which 
is known to have been published during his lifetime. And I have 
added to these items the first two editions of his Works, because 
they serve as the basis for all subsequent texts. Since the publica- 
tion of Malone's second edition in 1798, nothing of any biblio- 
graphical importance has appeared. The Works (called the 
Literary Works in the edition of 1 8 1 9 and thereafter to distinguish 
them from volumes of engravings after Sir Joshua's paintings) 
were frequently reprinted, appearing in 1801, 1809, 18 19, 1824, 
1867, and with a memoir by Henry William Beechey in 1835. 
Beechey's edition was reprinted in the Bohn Library series in 
1845 and in this form has gone through many editions. 

Not counting the number of times they have been included in 
the Works, the Discourses have appeared in at least thirty editions 
since 1800. Noteworthy among these are Burnet's edition in 
1842, Sir Edmund Gosse's in 1884, E. G. Johnson's in 1891, 
and Roger Fry's in 1905. The most scholarly editions are those 
edited by Dr E. Leisching (1893) and Louis Dimier (1909). 
Perhaps the most curious is that published in Hudson, Ohio, in 
1853, with the proud if inaccurate boast on the title-page: 
"First American Edition," (The Discourses had been published 


in Boston by Wells and Lilly in 1821.) My copy of the edition 
published in London in 1820 was presented to William Rossetti 
by Thomas Woolner. The most easily acquired edition is that 
in the World's Classics, with an introduction by Austin Dobson, 
and the most satisfactorily printed is that issued in 1924 by the 
Royal Academy, with an introduction by Mr W. R. M. Lamb. 

The bibliography which follows consists chiefly of the indivi- 
dual discourses, which were published soon after they had been 
delivered at the Academy. They appeared as pamphlets in quarto, 
in marbled paper wrappers with end-leaves, and the price of them 
rose from a shilling for the first to three shillings for the seventh 
and all subsequent ones. Although twenty-two years elapsed 
between the printing of the first and last discourses, the format 
for them remained unchanged. There are no headlines on a page; 
each page is centrally numbered in arabic numerals placed between 
square brackets (round brackets in the first three); and there are 
catchwords throughout. Uncut copies are relatively scarce. Of 
the copies which I have seen the largest measures 9I in. x 1 2 J in. 
I have listed all of the association copies which I have been able 
to find, but such a list is necessarily incomplete. Almost every 
copy which I have examined was a present, and when an unin- 
scribed copy turns up, it usually lacks the half-title or preliminary 
leaf on which Sir Joshua normally wrote. Apparently he pre- 
sented a copy of every discourse to each member of the Academy, 
each member of the Club, and to a great number of his many 
friends and relations. 

In referring to some of the reviews I have made use of my 
colleague B. C. Nangle's recent publication, The Monthly 
Review^ First Series, 1749— 1789. Indexes of Contributors and 
Articles^ Oxford, 1934. 

I. Three Letters to the Idler, 1 759-1 761 

Reynolds contributed nos. 76, 79, and 82, which were first pub- 
lished in the Universal Chronicle on 29 September, 20 October, 
and 10 November, 1759. They were combined into one article 
entitled "A letter on Painting, first published in the weekly 
paper called The Idler''\ which was printed in the London 



Chronicle of 12-14 May, 1761 (fx, 460 et seq.). While the first 
collected edition of the Idler was being printed in 1 76 1 , the three 
letters were struck off separately with an alteration in the 
pagination and signatures and with the omission of the date and 
number of each letter. The resulting duodecimo of twenty pages 
consists of a single gathering, which lacks the last two leaves, 
one of which, probably, was folded so as to serve as the title-page, 
which reads: "Three / Letters / to / The Idler." The copy which 
Johnson presented to Reynolds and which Reynolds in turn 
presented to Malone is in the possession of Dr D. Nichol Smith, 
of Oxford. The only other copy of this which I have been able 
to discover is in the Yale University Library. It measures 
6 1 in. X 4 J in. and is endorsed in a contemporary hand: "By 
S*" Josuah Reynolds." For a discussion of these letters see ante, 
pp. 1 5 et seq. 

2. Notes to Johnson^ s edition of Shakespeare^ 1765 

First published in volume viii (the Appendix) of the edition 
which appeared in 1765. Jnte, pp. 27 et seq. 

3. The first discourse y iy6() 

A I Discourse, / Delivered at the Opening / of the / Royal 
Academy, / January 2, 1769, / by the / President. / \^Long double 
rules'] I London: / Printed in the Year / \_Rule'] / mdcclxix. 

Collation. Quarto, printed in half-sheets, 2 11. + pp. 15; 
consisting of: Title-page, as above (with blank reverse), on first 
preliminary leaf; Dedication To the Members of the Royal 
Academy (with blank reverse), on second preliminary leaf; Text 
of the discourse, pp. i— 15. The signatures are [A] to E (five 
half-sheets, each two leaves). 

Presentation copies. F. M. Newton (Brit. Mus.), Benj. West 
(Harvard Coll. Libr.), Viscount "Newnham" (Nuneham 

Other copies. Yale Univ. Libr., F. W. Hilles. 

A second state of this discourse differs only in the imprint: 
"London: / *Printed by W. Bunco, Printer, / and / Sold by 


T. Davies, Bookseller,* / to the / Royal Academy." / [What 
appears between asterisks is bracketed together.] 

Note, The only copy of this which I have been able to discover 
is in my possession. Few could have been printed. I believe 
that the first state was printed in January and distributed for the 
most part to members of the Academy. At the end of the month 
Davies was appointed bookseller, and the imprint must have 
been altered soon after. It was then discovered, presumably, 
that the date had been omitted from the corrected title-page. 

A third state of this discourse is identical with the second, 
except that "mdcclxix" appears at the foot of the title-page. 

Presentation copy. "Mrs. Moore" (Yale Univ. Libr.). 

Another copy. Brit. Mus. 

Notes. Sold for one shilling. Reviewed in Gent. Mag. for 
February, 1769 (xxxix, 98) and by John Hawkesworth in 
Monthly Rev. for April, 1769 (xl, 310). Noticed in Neue 
Bibliothek in 1769 (viii, 364) and translated into German in the 
following year (id. ix, 195 et seq.). Translated into French by 
Louisa Henrietta Flint, whose version was printed "de llmpri- 
merie de Michel Lambert rue de Cordeliers au College de 
Burgogne" in 1769. Discussed ante^ pp. 35 et seq. Cf. ante, 
p. 63. 

4. The second discourscy iy6<^ 

A / Discourse, / Delivered to the / Students / of the / Royal 
Academy, / on the / Distribution of the Prizes, December 11, 
1 769, / by the / President. / [Long double rules'] / London: / Sold 
by Thomas Davies, Bookseller to the / Royal Academy. / 


Collation. Quarto, printed in half-sheets, 2 11. + pp. 23; con- 
sisting of: Half-title ["A / Discourse, &c. / [Price is. 6^.]"] 
(with blank reverse), on first preliminary leaf; Title-page, as 
above (with blank reverse), on second preliminary leaf; Text of 
the discourse, pp. 1—23. The signatures are [A] to G (seven 
half-sheets, each two leaves). 

Presentation copies. F. M. Newton (Brit. Mus.), Benj. West 
(Harvard Coll. Libr.), Mrs Montagu (F. W. Hilles), Viscount 


Nuneham (Nuneham Courtney), Horace Walpole (sold Amer. 
Art Assoc, II December, 1918). 

Other copies. Yale Univ. Libr., N.Y. Pub. Libr., F. W. 
Hilles (autographed by Robert Surtees, i June, 1770). 

Notes. Printed by William Griffin, who had succeeded 
William Bunce as printer to the Academy. Reviewed in Gent. 
Mag. for March, 1770 (xl, 129) and by John Hawkesworth in 
Monthly Rev. for April, 1770 (xlii, '^i'] et seq.). Reviewed in 
Neue Bibliothek in 1770 (x, 362) and translated into German 
three years later {id. xiv, 193 et seq.). Discussed antey pp. 39 
et seq. 

5. The third discourse y lyy I 

A / Discourse, / Delivered to the / Students / of the / Royal 
Academy, / on the / Distribution of the Prizes, December 14, 
1770, / by the / President. / [Long double rules~\ / London: / 
Printed for Thomas Davies, Bookseller to the / Royal Academy. / 


Collation. Quarto, printed in half-sheets, 2 11. + pp. 20; con- 
sisting of: Half-title ["A / Discourse, &c. / [Price is. 6^.]"] 
(with blank reverse), on first preliminary leaf; Title-page, as 
above (with blank reverse), on second preliminary leaf; Text 
of the discourse, pp. 1—20. The signatures are [A] to F (six 
half-sheets, each two leaves). 

Presentation copies. F. M. Newton (Brit. Mus.), Benj. West 
(Harvard Coll. Libr.), Mary Moser (Yale Univ. Libr.), Viscount 
Nuneham (Nuneham Courtney), Garrick (sold with his library, 
I May, 1823). 

Another copy. F. W. Hilles. 

Notes. Printed by William Griffin. Reviewed in Gent. Mag. 
for July, 1 77 1 (xli, 321) [an "accident having prevented this 
work from coming before us in due time"] and by Langhorne 
in Monthly Rev. for May, 1771 (xliv, 373 et seq.). Reviewed 
in Neue Bibliothek in 1771 (xii, 330) and translated into German 
three years later (id. xvi, 5 et seq.). 


6. The fourth discourse ^ 1772 

A / Discourse, / Delivered to the / Students / of the / Royal 
Academy, / on the / Distribution of the Prizes, December 10, 

1 77 1. / by the / President. / [Long double rules'] / London: / 
Printed for Thomas Davies, Bookseller to the / Royal Academy. / 


Collation. Quarto, printed in half-sheets, i 1. + pp. 29; con- 
sisting of: Title-page, as above (with blank reverse), on prelimi- 
nary leaf; Text of the discourse, pp. 1-29. The signatures are 
B to H (seven half-sheets, each two leaves), preceded by an un- 
signed leaf carrying the title-page, and followed by an unsigned 
leaf carrying p. 29 (together forming a half-sheet.) 

Presentation copies. F. M. Newton (Brit. Mus.), Benj. West 
(Harvard Coll. Libr.), Viscount Nuneham (Nuneham Courtney), 
Jerningham (sold Amer. Art Assoc, 11 December, 19 18), 
Garrick (sold with his library, i May, 1823). 

Other copies. Yale Univ. Libr., F. W. Hilles (two, one of 
which is autographed by G. Montagu). 

Notes. Printed by Wm. Griffin and sold for two shillings. 
Reviewed in Gent. Mag. for April, 1772 (xlii, 182) and by 
James Stuart in Monthly Rev. for May, 1772 (xlvi, 474 et seq.)^ 
who remarks that "the Author has happily united to the im- 
proved taste of an artist, the enlargement of mind and the 
penetration of a philosopher". Translated into German in 
Neue Bibliothek in 1775 (xvii, 5 et seq.). 

7 . The fifth discourse, 1773 
A / Discourse, / Delivered to the / Students / of the / Royal 
Academy, / on the / Distribution of the Prizes, December 10, 

1772. / by the / President. / [Long triple rules'] / London: / 
*Printed by W. Griffin, Printer / and / Sold by T. Davies, 
Bookseller* to the Royal Academy. / m dcc lxiii. [What 
appears between asterisks is bracketed together.] 

Collation. Quarto, printed in half-sheets, 2 11. + pp. 27; con- 
sisting of: Half-title ["A / Discourse, &c. / [Price Two Shil- 
lings.]"] (with blank reverse), on first preliminary leaf; Title- 
page, as above (with blank reverse), on second preliminary leaf; 



Text of the discourse, pp. 1-27. The signatures are [A] to H 
(eight half-sheets, each two leaves). 

Presentation copies. F. M. Newton, Joseph Banks, George 
Barrett (Brit. Mus.), Joseph Nollekens (Yale Univ. Libr.), Benj. 
West (Harvard Coll. Libr.), Viscount Nuneham (Nuneham 
Courtney), Nicholas Palmer [Sir Joshua's brother-in-law] (Folger 
Libr.), Lord Chesterfield, Caleb Whitefoord (James Tregaskis 
& Son),Topham Beauclerk (sold Amer. Art Assoc, 1 1 December, 
1 91 8), George Keate (recently sold by Brick Row Book Shop, 
N.Y.),— ["from the Author"] (N.Y. Pub. Libr.). 

Another copy. F. W. Hilles. 

Note. Another edition of this discourse presents a biblio- 
graphical problem. The only copy which I have been able to 
discover is in my possession. Unlike the edition described above, 
this is well printed. The correct date appears at the foot of the 
title-page; stoop (rather than sloo^ appears on p. 7; the first word 
on p. 17 (omitted in the other edition) is who; Draperies (rather 
than Drapery's) appears on p. 23 ; likelihood (rather than likelyhood) 
appears on p. 25. The one is a page-for-page reprint of the 
other, and in spite of the generalization that the more carelessly 
printed of two editions is the reprint, in this case it is almost 
certainly otherwise. Many of the errors in the poorly printed 
edition are the sort which would result from copying a manu- 
script, and it is to be noted that it was the poorly printed edition 
which Sir Joshua gave to his friends — friends who normally 
received their copies as soon as the discourse was first published. 
My belief in the priority of the "bad" edition is shared by my 
colleague, Dr A. T. Hazen, who kindly examined the two editions 
at my request. 

Additional Notes. Reviewed in Gent. Mag. for February, 1773 
(xliii, 82 et seq.) and by Langhorne in Monthly Rev. for June, 
1773 (xlviii, 453 et seq.). Reviewed in Neue Bibliothek in 1773 
(xv, 360) and translated into German two years later {id. xvii, 
191 et seq.). Sir Joshua presented copies of this discourse to 
Beattie (Marg. Forbes's Beattie and his Friends, Westminster, 
1904, 80) and to Garrick (sold with his library, i May, 1823). 


8. The sixth discourse y 1775 

A / Discourse, / Delivered to the / Students / of the / Royal 
Academy, / on the / Distribution of the Prizes, Dec. the lO*^, 
1774. / by the / President. / \_Long double rules'] / London: / 
Printed for Thomas Davies, Bookseller to the / Royal Academy. / 


Collation. Quarto, printed in half-sheets, i 1. + pp. 36: con- 
sisting of: Title-page, as above (with blank reverse), on pre- 
liminary leaf; Text of the discourse, pp. 1-36. The signatures 
are B to K (nine half-sheets, each two leaves), preceded by a leaf 
carrying the title-page. 

Presentation copies. F. M. Newton (Brit. Mus.), Benj. West 
(Harvard Coll. Libr.), Mrs Montagu (F. W. Hilles), Viscount 
Nuneham (Nuneham Courtney), Richard Stonehewer (recently 
sold by Brick Row Book Shop, N.Y.), Thrale (sold Amer. Art 
Assoc, II December, 19 18), Garrick (sold with his library, 
I May, 1823). 

Other copies. Brit. Mus., Yale Univ. Libr., Harvard Coll. 
Libr. (Lowell Collection), F. W. Hilles (2). 

Notes. Printed by Wm. Griffin. I have seen no copy with a 
half-title. Published in January; one of Sir Joshua's nephews 
wrote on 27 January: " My Uncle sends a Discourse to Governor 
Hastings." {Sir 'Joshua's Nephew ^ 35.) Translated into German 
in Neue Bibliothek (xxi, 5 et seq.). Hannah More considered this 
discourse "a masterpiece for matter as well as style" (W. Roberts's 
Memoirs of the Life and Correspondence of Mrs. Hannah More, 
London, 1834, i, 58). For a similar statement made by her at 
a later date see E. and F. Anson's Mary Hamilton, London, 1925, 

9 . Character of Mrs Parker, 1775— 1776 

Printed in Pub. Advertiser, 29 December, 1775; reprinted in 
part in Morning Post, 30 December; reprinted in revised form in 
Gent. Mag. for February, 1776 (xlvi, 75). The original text is 
given by Whitley (ii, 297), and the revised version by Northcote 
(ii, 15). Discussed ante, pp. 87 et seq. 


10. The seventh discourse ^ I'J'JJ 
A / Discourse, / Delivered to the / Students / of the / Royal 
Academy, / on the / Distribution of the Prizes, December 10, 
1776. / by the / President. / \_Long double ru/es] / London: / 
Printed by Thomas Davies, Printer to the / Royal Academy. / 


Collation. Quarto, printed in half-sheets, 2 11. + pp. 44; con- 
sisting of: Half-title ["A / Discourse, &c. / [Price Three 
Shillings.]"] (with blank reverse), on first preliminary leaf; 
Title-page, as above (with blank reverse), on second preliminary 
leaf; Text of the discourse, pp. 1—44. The signatures are [A] 
to M (twelve half-sheets, each two leaves). 

Presentation copies. F. M. Newton, Joseph Banks (Brit. Mus.), 
Benj. West (Harvard Coll. Libr.), Viscount Nuneham (Nune- 
ham Courtney), Mrs Montagu (F. W. Hilles), Mary Palmer 
(Folger Libr., Washington), Richard "Stonyer" (recently sold 
by Brick Row Book Shop, N.Y.), Horace Walpole (sold Amer. 
Art Assoc, 1 1 December, 19 18), Garrick (sold with his library, 
I May, 1823). 

Another copy. Yale Univ. Libr. 

Nates. Davies had succeeded Griffin as printer to the Academy 
in June, 1775. Noticed in Gent. Mag. for March, 1777 (xlvii, 
137) and reviewed by John Langhorne in Monthly Rev. for 
June (Ivi, 429 et seq.). Translated into German in Neue Bibliothek 
in 1779 and 1780 (xxiii, 195 et seq.-., xxiv, i et seq.). 

II. The Octavo Edition of the Discourses y 1778 
Seven / Discourses / Delivered in the / Royal Academy / by the / 
President. / [^Rule^ / Omnia fere quae praeceptis continentur, 
ab ingeniosis / hominibus fiunt: sed casu quodam magis, quam 
Sci- / entia. Ideoque doctrina &c animadversio adhibenda / est, 
ut ea quae interdum sine ratione nobis occurrunt, / sempre in 
nostra potestate sint; & quoties res postula- / verit, a nobis ex 
praeparato adhibeantur. / Aquila Roman, de Fig. Sententiar. / 
apud Juniuvn. / [Long double ruW] j London: / Printed for T. 
Cadell, in the Strand, Bookseller / and Printer to the Royal 
Academy. / m dcc lxxviii. 


Collation. Octavo, 2 11. + pp. iv + 326 + i 1.; consisting of: 
Half-title ["Seven / Discourses / Delivered in the / Royal 
Academy / by the / President."] (with blank reverse), on first 
preliminary leaf; Title-page, as above (with blank reverse) ^ 
on second preliminary leaf; Dedication to the King, pp. [i]— [iv]; 
The Discourses, pp. [i]— 326 (each discourse preceded by fly- 
title with blank reverse) ; bookseller's advertisements on last leaf. 
Except for the Dedication, there are no headlines, the pages 
being numbered centrally in arabic numerals placed between 
square brackets. There are catchwords throughout. The sig- 
natures are B to X (twenty sheets, each eight leaves), Y (a 
half-sheet, four leaves), prececed by an unsigned half-sheet (four 
leaves) which carries the half-title, title-page, and Dedication 
to the King. 

Presentation copies. Countess de Genlis (Bibliotheque Natio- 
nale), Theophila Palmer (Roger Ingpen), second Earl Harcourt 
(Nuneham Courtney), "Mr. Verteegh" [probably Dirk Ver- 
steegh of Amsterdam, collector of drawings by old masters] 
(Wilmarth Lewis), Garrick (sold with his library, i May, 1823), 
—["From the Author"] (F. W. Hilles). 

Other copies. In principal libraries of Great Britain and 
America. Queeney Thrale's, inscribed by her: "H. M. Keith 
1 8 16," is in the possession of Dr L. F. Powell. 

Notes (for most of which I am indebted to my colleague, 
Dr A. T. Hazen). Advertised as six shillings in Lond. Chron., 
but as five shillings sewed (sometimes five shillings in boards) 
in other newspapers and magazines. The Dedication to the King 
was probably written by Johnson on 18 April, 1778 [Johnsonian 
MiscellanieSy i, 83], and the book was published a month later. 
Advertised in Pub. Advertiser and St James's Chron. of 19 May. 
Listed in Lond. Mag. for May. Advertised in Lond. Chron. of 
9-1 1 July as published "during the last Winter". Reviewed by 
John Langhorne in Monthly Rev. for September (lix, 232) and 
in Gent. Mag. for December (xlviii, 592). Discussed ante, 
pp. 46 et seq. 


12. The Florentine Edition of the Discourses^ 1778 

Delle Arti del Disegno / Disco rsi / del Cav. / Giosue Reynolds / 
Presidente della R. Accad. / di Londra Ec. / Trasportati dal- 
Plnglese / nel Toscano idioma / [Two ru/es] /In Firenze / [Long 
ru/e] I MDCCLXXViii. 

Collation. Duodecimo by cutting, front. + pp. xiv + 240; 
consisting of: Florentine self-portrait of Sir Joshua, frontispiece j 
Title-page, as above (with blank reverse), p. [i]; Editor's preface, 
pp. iii-xi; three blank pages, pp. [xii]-[xiv]; Dedication to the 
Royal Academicians, pp. i— 2; Text of the Discourses, pp. 3—240. 
There are no headlines; the pages are numbered in arabic 
numerals, and there are catchwords throughout. The signatures 
are A to K (ten sheets, each twelve leaves), preceded by two 
conjugate leaves carrying the frontispiece and title-page (both 
of which are engraved) and a half-sheet (six leaves), carrying 
pp. iii to [xiv]. 

Copies. Common in Italian libraries; rare elsewhere. British 
Museum, Bodleian, Bibliotheque Nationale, Dr L. F. Powell, 
F. W. Hilles [autographed by M(ary) Musgrave in 1791]. 

Notes. Reviewed in Novelle Letter arie (no. 36) in 1778 and 
in Efemeridi Letterarie di Roma (viii, 82 et seq.) in 1779. 
Noticed in Neue Bihliothek in 1780 (xxiv, 153). Discussed ante^ 
pp. 5 1 et seq. 

13. The eighth discourse ^ 1779 
A / Discourse, / Delivered to the / Students / of the / Royal 
Academy, / on the / Distribution of the Prizes, December 10, 
1778. / by the / President. / [Rule'\ / London: / Printed by 
Thomas Cadell, Printer to the / Royal Academy. / m doc lxxix. 

Collation. Quarto, printed in half-sheets, 2 11. + pp. 38 + i 1.; 
consisting of: Half-title ["A / Discourse, &c. / [Price Three 
Shillings.]"] (with blank reverse), on first preliminary leaf; 
Title-page, as above (with blank reverse), on second preliminary 
leaf; Text of the discourse, pp. 1-38; publisher's advertisement 
(with blank reverse), on last leaf. The signatures are [A] to L 
(eleven half-sheets, each two leaves). 

Presentation copies. F. M. Newton, Joseph Banks ^^Brit. 


Mus.), Benj. West (Harvard Coll. Libr.), Joseph Nollekens 
(Yale Univ. Libr.), Mrs Vesey (F. W. Hilles), the "Rev^ M^ 
Emily" (Bodleian), "M"" J Palmer" [either John or Joseph, 
nephev^s of Sir Joshua] (Folger Libr., Washington), Horace 
Walpole (sold Amer. Art Assoc, ii December, 1918), Sir 
Robt. Chambers (recently sold by Brick Row^ Book Shop, N.Y.). 

Other copies. Harvard Coll. Libr. (Lowell Collection), F. W. 
Hilles (3). 

Notes. Reviewed in Monthly Rev. for July, 1779 (Ixi, 17 
et seq.) by John Gillies, who severely criticizes the author's 
diction and his disregard for an orderly presentation of his 
material. Reviewed in Neue Bibliothek in 1780 (xxiv, 184). 

14. The ninth and tenth discourses ^ 1781 

A / Discourse, / Delivered at the / Opening / of the / Royal 
Academy, / October 16, 1780, / by the / President. / \_Rule'] / 
London: / Printed by Thomas Cadell, Printer to the / Royal 
Academy. / m. dcc. lxxxi. 

A / Discourse, / Delivered to the / Students / of the / Royal 
Academy, / on the / Distribution of the Prizes, December 1 1 , 
1780./ by the / President. / [Rule'] / London : / Printed by Thomas 
Cadell, Printer to the / Royal Academy. / m.dcc.lxxxi. 

Collation. Quarto, 2 11. + pp. 32; consisting of: Half-title 
["Two / Discourses, &c. / [Price Three Shillings.]"] (with 
blank reverse), on first preliminary leaf; Title-page of ninth 
discourse, as above (with blank reverse), on second preliminary 
leaf; Text of ninth discourse, pp. [i]— 6; Title-page of tenth 
discourse, as above (with blank reverse), pp. [7]— [8]; Text of 
tenth discourse, pp. [9]-32. The signatures are B to E (four 
sheets, each four leaves), preceded by an unsigned half-sheet 
(two leaves), carrying the half-title and first title-page. 

Presentation copies. F. M. Newton, Sir Joseph Banks (Brit. 
Mus.), Benj. West (Harvard Coll. Libr.), Joseph Nollekens 
(Yale Univ. Libr.), Beattie, Mrs "Montague" (F. W. Hilles), 
Horace Walpole (sold Amer. Art Assoc, 11 December, 19 18), 
Richard Stonehewer (recently sold by Brick Row Book Shop, 


15. The German Edition of the Discourses y 1781 

Josua Reynolds / Prasident der Konigl. Malerakademie / zu 
London / Akademische Reden / iiber / das Studium der Malerey, / 
zur/ Bildungjunger Kiinstler/ und zur / richtigen Beurtheilung 
der besten Werke / der Kunst, / \_Rule'\ / Nach der letzten 
Originalausgabe aus dem / Englischen iibersetzt. / \_lVoodcut by 
Friedrich^ / Dresden, / in der Hilscherischen Buchhandlung, 

Collation. Octavo, pp. 332 + 2 11.; consisting of: Title-page, 
as above (v^ith blank reverse), pp. [i]-[2]; Translator's Preface, 
pp. [3]-[7]; Dedication, p. [8]; Text of the first seven discourses, 
pp. 9—332; two blank leaves. The signatures are A to X (twenty- 
one sheets, each eight leaves). 

Notes, The only copy which I have seen is in the Bibliotheque 
Nationale. For a discussion of the edition, see ante^ p. 60. 

16. The eleventh discourse ^ 17^3 

A / Discourse, / Delivered to the / Students / of the / Royal 
Academy / on the / Distribution of the Prizes, December 10, 
1782, / by the / President. / \^Rule'] / London: / Printed by 
Thomas Cadell, Printer to the / Royal Academy. / m.dcc.lxxxiii. 

Collation. Quarto, printed in half-sheets, pp. 28; consisting 
of: Half-title ["A / Discourse, &c. / [Price Three Shillings.]"] 
(with blank reverse), pp. [i]-[2] [in some copies this leaf is 
blank]; Title-page, as above (with blank reverse), pp. [3]-[4]; 
Text of the discourse, pp. [5]-28. The signatures are [A] to 
G (eight half-sheets, each two leaves). 

Presentation copies. F. M. Newton, Sir Joseph Banks (Brit. 
Mus.), Benj. West (Harvard Coll. Libr.), Joseph Nollekens 
(Yale Univ. Libr.), Joseph Wilton (recently sold by Brick Row 
Book Shop, N.Y.), Horace Walpole (sold Amer. Art. Assoc, 
II December, 191 8). 

Other copies. Brit. Mus., F. W. Hilles. 

Notes. Reviewed by Samuel Rose in Monthly Rev. for 
February, 1783 (Ixviii, 155 et seq.)\ noticed in Neue Bibliothek 
in 1783 (xxix, 176) and translated into German two years later 

HR 19 


(jd. xxxi, 5 et seq.)\ reviewed in Efemeridi Letter arte di Roma in 
1783 (xii, 384). Walpole's copy was annotated by him. He men- 
tions receiving it and criticizes it in a letter to Mason, dated 
10 February, 1783 (Letters^ ed. Toynbee, xii, 403). Erskine's 
letter of thanks to the author, dated 26 Jan., 1783, is printed in 
Cotton's Notes, pp. 69 et seq. A half-title, inscribed "Dr. 
Johnson from the Author", is pasted in the front of a bound 
volume of the fifteen discourses in the Brick Row Book Shop, 

17. Testimonial to Moser, i']^2> 
Malone {Works, i, xlvi) reprints this from Sir Joshua's own copy, 
and remarks that it was "probably" published in some newspaper 
of the day. It appeared in Pub. Advertiser of 30 January, 1783. 
Jnte, p. 86. 

18. Notes to The Art of Painting, 1783 

The / Art of Painting / of / Charles Alphonse du Fresnoy. / 
Translated into English Verse / by / William Mason, M.A. / 
With Annotations / by / Sir Joshua Reynolds, Knt. / President 
of the Royal Academy. / [Long double rules'] j York: / Printed 
by A. Ward, and sold by J. Dodsley, Pall-Mall; T. Cadell, 
in / the Strand; R. Faulder, New Bond-street, London; and 
J. Todd, York. / m.dcc.lxxxiii. 

Collation. Quarto, pp. xxii + 213 + i 1.; consisting of: Half- 
title [" Charles Alphonse du Fresnoy's / Art of Painting / Trans- 
lated into English Verse."] (with blank reverse), pp. [i]-[ii]; 
Title-page, as above (with blank reverse), pp. [iii]-[iv]; Epistle 
to Sir Joshua Reynolds, pp. [v]-viii; Preface, pp. [ix]-xiv; The 
Life of Mons. du Fresnoy, pp. [xv]-xix; blank page. p. [xx]; 
Fly-title (with blank reverse), pp. [xxi]-[xxii]; Text of The 
Art of Painting, pp. [i]-64; Fly-title (with note by Mason on 
reverse), pp. [65]-[66]; Notes on The Art of Painting, pp. [67]- 
121; Note by Mason, p. [122]; Table of the Rules, pp. [123]- 
125; blank page, p. [126]; Appendix, pp. [i27]-2i3; Errata, 
p. [214]; Advertisement of books by Mason (with blank reverse), 
on last leaf. There are headlines throughout, except for the text 


of the poem itself, where the pages are centrally numbered in 
arabic numerals placed between square brackets. There are 
catchwords throughout, except for the text of the poem. The 
corresponding part of the Latin original is placed at the foot of 
each page of the text. The signatures are a to b (two sheets, 
each four leaves), c (three leaves), A to D d (twenty-seven sheets, 
each four leaves). 

Presentation copy, Mrs Vesey (F. W. Hilles). 

Notes. Sold for eight shillings in boards. Advertised in Lond. 
Chron. of 13-15 February, 1783. Reviewed by Edmund 
Cartwright in Monthly Rev. for June, 1783 (Ixviii, 470 et seq.) 
and in Neue Bibliothek in 1783 (xxix, 1 67 et seq.). Discussed ante, 
pp. ^l et seq. 

19. Pirated edition <?/The Art of Painting, 1783 

The / Art of Painting / of / Charles Alphonse du Fresnoy. / 
Translated into / English Verse / by / William Mason, M.A. / 
with / Annotations / by / Sir Joshua Reynolds, Knt. / President 
of the Royal Academy. / Dublin: / Printed for Messrs. White- 
stone, Wilson, / Moncrieffe, Walker, Jenkin, White, / Byrne, 
and Cash. / m,dcc,lxxxiii. 

Collation. Octavo, pp. xxiv + 22i + i 1.; consisting of: Half- 
title ["Charles Alphonse du Fresnoy's / Art of Painting / Trans- 
lated into / English Verse."] (with blank reverse), pp. [i]-[ii]; 
Title-page, as above (with blank reverse), pp. [iii]-[iv]; Epistle 
to Sir Joshua Reynolds, pp. [v]-viii; Preface, pp. [ix]-xiv; The 
Life of Mons. du Fresnoy, pp. [xv]— xxi; blank page, p. [xxii]; 
Fly-title (with blank reverse), pp. [xxiii]-[xxiv]; Text of The 
Art of Paintings pp. [i]-64; Fly-title (with note by Mason on 
reverse), pp. [65]-[66]; Notes on The Art of Painting, pp. [67]- 
1 10; Note by Mason, p. [i 1 1]; Table of the Rules, pp. [i 12]— 
[115]; blank page, p. [116]; Appendix, pp. [ii7]-22i; blank 
pages, pp. [222]-[224]; As in the first edition, there are headlines 
and catchwords throughout, except for the text of the poem, 
where the pages are numbered centrally in arabic numerals placed 
between square brackets. As in the first edition, the corresponding 
part of the Latin original is placed at the foot of each page of the 



text. The errata noted in the first edition have been corrected. 
The signatures are [A] (a half-sheet, four leaves, carrying the 
title-pages and the epistle to Reynolds), B to O (thirteen sheets, 
each eight leaves), P to S (four half-sheets, each four leaves). 

Note. Apparently rare. The only copy I have seen is that in 
my possession. Mentioned in Robert Davies's Memoir of the 
York Pressy Westminster, 1868, 294. 

20. The twelfth discourse ^ 1785 

A / Discourse, / Delivered to the / Students / of the / Royal 
Academy, / on the / Distribution of the Prizes, December 10, 
1 7 84. / by the / President. / \_Rule^ j London : / Printed by Thomas 
Cadell, Printer to the / Royal Academy. / m.dcc.lxxxv. 

Collation, Quarto, 2 11. + pp. 32; consisting of: Half-title 
["A / Discourse, &c. / [Price Three Shillings.]"] (with blank 
reverse), on first preliminary leaf; Title-page, as above (with 
blank reverse), on second preliminary leaf; Text of the discourse, 
pp. [i]— 32. The signatures are B to E (four sheets, each four 
leaves), preceded by an unsigned half-sheet (two leaves), carrying 
the title-pages. 

Presentation copies. F. M. Newton, Sir Joseph Banks (Brit. 
Mus.),— ["From the Author"] (Yale Univ. Libr., F. W. 

Other copies. Princeton Univ. Libr., F. W. Hilles, N.Y. Pub. 
Libr. {cf. ante, p. 94 n. 2). 

Note. For Horace Walpole's comment on this discourse see 
ante, p. 137. 

21. The thirteenth discourse, 1787 

A / Discourse, / Delivered to the / Students / of the / Royal 
Academy / on the / Distribution of the Prizes, December 11, 
1786, / by the / President. / \Rule'\ / London: / Printed by 
Thomas Cadell, Printer to the / Royal Academy. / m.dcc.lxxxvi. 
Collation. Quarto, printed in half-sheets, 2 11. + pp. 30 + i 1.; 
consisting of: Half-title ["A / Discourse, &c. / [Price Three 
Shillings.]"] (with blank reverse), on first preliminary leaf; 
Title-page, as above (with blank reverse), on second preliminary 
leaf; Text of the discourse, pp. [i]-30; a blank leaf, pp. [31]- 


[32]. The signatures are [A] to I (nine half-sheets, each two 

Presentation copies, F. M. Newton, Sir Joseph Banks, John 
Wilkes (Brit. Mus.), James Boswell (R. B. Adam), Mrs Mon- 
tagu (F. W. Hilles),— ["From the Author"] (Yale Univ. Libr., 
Harvard Coll. Libr., F. W. Hilles). 

Notes. Reviewed by John Rotheram in Monthly Rev, for 
September, 1787 (Ixxvii, 203 et seq.). Translated into German 
in Neue Bibliothek in 1787 (xxxv, i et seq,) and criticized shortly 
after (id. xxxvi, 177 et seq.). Although the date 1786 appears 
on the title-page, the discourse was not published until the first 
week of the new year {ante, p. 143). The title-page and half-title 
of the copy Sir Joshua used for his final revisions are in the Folger 
Library, Washington. 

22. The French Edition of the Discourses, 1787 

Discours / prononces / a I'Academie Royale / de / Peinture de 
LondreSy j Par M. Josue Reynolds, / President de la dite Academie. / 
Suivis des Notes du meme Auteur, sur le / Poeme de V Art de 
Peindre, de Dufresnoy. / Le tout traduit de VAnglois. / tome 
premier (second). / \^Long rule'\ / Omnia fere quae praeceptis 
continentur, ab / ingeniosis hominibus fiunt: sed casu quodam / 
magis, quam Scientia. Ideoque doctrina & / animadversio adhi- 
benda est, ut ea quas inter- / dum sine ratione nobis occurrunt, 
semper in / nostra potestate sint; & quoties res postulaverit, / a 
nobis ex preparato adhibeantur. / Aquila Roman, de Fig. Senten- 
tiar. I apud ]\xn\uvn. j [Long rule] / [Printer's device] /A Paris, / 
Chez Moutard, Imprimeur-Libraire de / la Reine, rue des 
Mathurins. / [Heavy double rules] j 1787. 

Collation of volume one. Octavo, pp. xii + 407; consisting of: 
Half-title ["Discours / prononces / a I'Academie Royale / de / 
Peinture de Londres.""] (with blank reverse), pp. [i]-[ii]; Title- 
page, as above (with blank reverse), pp. [iii]-[iv]; Translator's 
preface, pp. [v]-x; Dedication, pp. xi-xii; Text of the first eight 
discourses, pp. [i]— 407. Except for the preface, there are no 
headlines, the pages being numbered centrally in arabic numerals 
placed between round brackets. There are no catchwords. 


Prefixed to each discourse is a fly-title with blank reverse. 
Printer's devices appear at the top of the first page of the preface 
and the first page of each discourse. The signatures are A to B b 
(twenty-five sheets, each eight leaves), C c (a half-sheet, four 
leaves), preceded by six leaves of preliminary matter. 

Collation of volume two. Octavo, 2 11. + pp. 395 + i 1.; con- 
sisting of: Half-title [as in volume one] (with blank reverse), 
on first preliminary leaf; Title-page (with blank reverse), as 
above (except that a period is substituted for the comma after 
Londres)y on second preliminary leaf; Text of the ninth, tenth, 
eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth discourses, pp. [i]-2o8; L'Art 
de Peindre, pp. [209]— 271; blank page, p. [272]; Notes de 
M. Reynolds, pp. [273]-390; Table des Articles, pp. 391-394; 
Errata, p. 395; Approbation, pp. 395-[396]; Privilege du Roi, 
PP- [39^]~[39^]- 'The format is identical with that of the first 
volume. The translator has given only a resume of V Art 
de Peindre, including Mason's notes as footnotes to the re- 
sume. The signatures are A to A a (twenty- four sheets, each 
eight leaves), B b (seven leaves), preceded by two preliminary 

Notes. According to Paul Ortlepp {Sir Joshua Reynolds, 
Strassburg, 1906, ix), another issue of this edition differs only 
in the date of publication (1788 instead of 1787). I have seen 
no copy of this. In fact the edition is relatively rare. The only 
copies I have seen are the one in my possession, one in the Yale 
University Library, and that owned by Marie Antoinette, which 
is in the Bibliotheque Nationale. Several copies have been sold 
at auction in Paris during the past twenty years. For a discussion 
of the edition, see ante, pp. 61 et seq. 

23. The Venetian Edition of the Discourses, 1787 

Delle Arti / del Disegno / Discorsi / del Cav. / Giosue Reynolds / 
Presidente della R. Accad. / di Londra ec. / Trasportati dal~ 
PInglese nel / Toscano idioma. /[Printer's device]/ 5<?j-j^«o/ [Wavy 
rule] / MDCCLXXXVii. 

Collation. Octavo, front. + pp. 243; consisting of: the Floren- 
tine self-portrait of Sir Joshua, frontispiece; Title-page, as above 


(with blank reverse), pp. [i]-[2]; Editor's preface, pp. [3]-[io]; 
Dedication, pp. [ii]-[i2]; Text of the first seven discourses, 
pp. 13-242; Permission to print, p. 243. There are no headlines, 
the pages being numbered in arabic numerals on the top of the 
outer margin. There are no fly-titles; there are catchwords 
throughout. The signatures are A to O (fourteen sheets, each 
eight leaves), followed by P (ten leaves). Signature P was a sheet 
containing pp. 225—232 and 237—242. Placed in the centre are 
two leaves (pp. 233-236) with the signature P5 on p. 233. 

Notes. The Permission of the Riformatori of Padua is dated 
8 February, 1786, and includes the information that the book 
was printed by Giuseppe Remondini at Venice. It is merely 
a reprint of the Florentine edition. There are copies of this in 
most public libraries in Italy, but the only copy outside Italy of 
which I have any record is the one in my possession. 

24. The fourteenth discourse ^ 1789 

A / Discourse, / Delivered to the / Students / of the / Royal 
Academy, /on the/ Distribution of the Prizes, Dec. loth, 1788,/ 
by the / President. / [^Rule'] j London: / Printed by Thomas 
Cadell, Printer to the / Royal Academy. / m.dcc.lxxxix. 

Collation. Quarto, printed in half-sheets, 2 11. + pp. 26 + i 1.; 
consisting of: Half-title ['*A / Discourse, &c. / \_Rule'] / [Price 
Three Shillings.]"] (with blank reverse), on first preliminary 
leaf; Title-page, as above (with blank reverse), on second pre- 
liminary leaf; Text of the discourse, pp. [i]-26; blank leaf, 
pp. [27]-[28]. The signatures are [A] to H (eight half-sheets, 
each two leaves). 

Presentation copies. F. M. Newton, Sir Joseph Banks, John 
Wilkes (Brit. Mus.), James Boswell (R. B. Adam), Mrs Mon- 
tagu (F. W. Hilles), Macklin (S. C. Roberts), Joseph NoUekens 
(Yale Univ. Libr.), Thomas Banks (Bodleian), Benj. West 
(N.Y. Pub. Libr.), Caleb Whitefoord (recently sold by Brick 
Row Book Shop, N.Y.), Horace Walpolc (sold Amer. Art 
Assoc, II December, 19 18). 

Notes. For some reason the printing of this discourse was 


delayed until June {ante^ p. 144). Reviewed in Neue Bibliothek 
in 1 79 1 (xli, 284). 

25. The fifteenth discourse ^ ^79^ 
A I Discourse, / Delivered to the / Students / of the / Royal 
Academy, / on the / Distribution of the Prizes, Dec. 10, 1790. / 
by the / President. / \_Rule'] j London: / Printed by Thomas 
Cadell, Printer to the / Royal Academy. / m.dcc.xci. 

Collation. Quarto, printed in half-sheets, 2 11. + pp. 31 ; con- 
sisting of: Half-title ["A / Discourse, &c. / \_Rule'] / [Price 
Three Shillings.]"] (with blank reverse), on first preliminary 
leaf; Title-page, as above (with blank reverse), on second pre- 
liminary leaf; Text of the discourse, pp. [i]-3i. The signatures 
are [A] to I (nine half-sheets, each two leaves). 

Presentation copies. F. M. Newton, John Wilkes (Brit. Mus.), 
James Boswell (R. B. Adam), Mrs Montagu (F. W. Hilles), 
Joseph Nollekens (Yale Univ. Libr.), Thomas Banks (Bodleian), 
Lord "Spenser" (John Rylands Libr.), John Cator (recently 
sold by Brick Row Book Shop, N.Y.), "Mr. Wheatly" (adver- 
tised in cat. 27, issued *in 1930 by Birrell & Garnett, Ltd.), 
Horace Walpole (sold Amer. Art Assoc, 11 December, 19 18). 
Notes. The Bishop of London's letter of thanks for his copy, 
dated 7 March, 1791, first printed in Cotton's NoteSy p. 70. 
Early in March copies were distributed in Ireland. On 1 2 March 
Boswell wrote to Malone : " I sent you one of Si r Joshua's Discourses 
for yourself singly, and next day four for Lord Charlemont, Lord 
Sunderlin, and the Jephsons. These all under cover of Mr. Lees. 
Four I sent under cover of the Provost for the Archbishop of 
Tuam, the Lord Chancellor, and the Bishops of Killaloe and 
Dromore. Sir Joshua had sent one to the Provost himself." (Letters 
of James Boswell, ed. Tinker, Oxford, 1924, 429.) For a discus- 
sion of this discourse, see ante, pp. lyy et seq. 

26. Letter concerning Milton'' s Portrait, 1791 

Published in Gent. Mag., July, 1791 (Ixi, 603 et seq.) with the 
title: "The Originality oi Milton's Portrait ascertained." The 
letter, dated 15 June, is signed "R.J." and is a reply to an anony- 


mous letter by Lord Hailes (id. 399 et seq.), who asserted that 
Cooper's miniature of Milton in Sir Joshua's possession was not 
genuine. Lord Hailes answered Sir Joshua's letter (id. 885 ^/ seq.) 
but evoked no further .response. The authorship of Sir Joshua's 
letter was acknowledged by the editor in a later number (id. Ixii, 
1 154). 

2 7 . First collected Edition ^ iy<^'J 
The / Works /of/ Sir Joshua Reynolds, Knt. / Late President 
of the Royal Academy: / containing / his Discourses, Idlers, / 
A Journey to Flanders and Holland, (now first published,) / and 
his commentary on du Fresnoy's Art of Painting; / printed from 
his revised copies, / (with his last corrections and additions,) / in 
two volumes. / to which is prefixed / an Account of the Life and 
Writings of the Author, / by Edmond Malone, Esq. / one of his 
executors. / — quasi non ea praecipiam aliis, quae mihi ipsi 
desunt. Cicero. / [Rule] / volume the first [second]. / [Rule] / 
London: j Printed for T. Cadell, Jun. and W. Davies, in the 
Strand. / m dcc xcvii. 

Collation of volume one. Quarto, front. + 2II. + pp. xc +362; 
consisting of: Half-title ["The / Works /of/ Sir Joshua Rey- 
nolds, Knt. / Late President of the Royal Academy. /In two 
volumes."] (with blank reverse), on first preliminary leaf; Sir 
Joshua's last self-portrait, engraved by Caroline Watson, frontis- 
piece; Title-page, as above (with blank reverse), on second 
preliminary leaf; Dedication to the King, pp. [i]-ii; Malone's 
memoir y pp. iii— Ixxi; blank page, p. [Ixxii]; additional note, 
pp. Ixxiii-lxxvi; Supplement (printed in 1798 and not found in 
all copies) containing the principal additions in the second 
edition, pp. [Ixxvii]— Ixxxiv; Contents of the first volume, pp. 
[lxxxv]-[lxxxix]; Errata, p. [xc]; Text of the fifteen discourses, 
pp. [i]-346; Three Letters to The Idler , pp. [347]-362. There 
are headlines and catchwords throughout, the pages being num- 
bered with arabic numerals placed at the top of each outer margin. 
There are fly-titles (with blank reverses) for each discourse and 
one for the Idlers. The signatures are a to i (nine sheets, each four 
leaves) ; *i ( a half-sheet, two leaves, carrying the additional note) ; 
*k (one sheet, four leaves, carrying the supplement); k (three 


leaves, carrying the Contents and Errata); B to Y y (forty-four 
sheets, each four leaves); an unsigned leaf, carrying pp. 361-362, 
which was the fourth leaf of signature k; the whole preceded 
by a half-sheet (two leaves), carrying the Half-title and Title- 
page. Through an error of the typesetter, pp. 329—336 have been 
omitted in the pagination, although none of the text has been 

Collation of volume two. Quarto, 2 11. + pp. 39 1 ; consisting of: 
Title-page, as above (with blank reverse), on first preliminary 
leaf; Contents (with Errata on reverse), on second preliminary 
leaf; A Journey to Flanders^ etc., pp. [i]-i24; The Art of 
Paintingy pp. [12^]— 20 y, blank page, p. [208]; Notes on The 
Art of Paintings pp. [209]-274; blank page, p. [275]; Note by 
Mason,p. [276]; A Table of the Rules, pp. [277]-[28o]; Appen- 
dix, pp. [281H377]; blank page, p. [378]; Index, pp. [379]- 
[39 1 ]. The format is identical with that of the first volume. The 
signatures are B to 3D (forty-nine sheets, each four leaves), 
preceded by a half-sheet (two leaves, the second signed a), carrying 
the two preliminary leaves. The forty-sixth and forty-seventh 
gatherings are signed A A and BB, rather than 3 A and 3B. 

Notes. Malone sold the copyright to the publishers for ;^300 
(Farington's Diary, iii, 85). For a discussion of this edition see 
ante, pp. 196 et seq. 

28. Second collected Edition, 1798 
The / Works / of/ Sir Joshua Reynolds, Knight; / Late President 
of the Royal Academy: / containing / His Discourses, Idlers, / 
A Journey to Flanders and Holland, /and his Commentary on 
du Fresnoy's Art of / Painting; / Printed from his revised 
Copies, / (with his last corrections and additions,) / in three 
volumes. / to which is prefixed / An Account of the Life and 
Writings of the / Author, / By Edmond Malone, Esq. / one of 
his Executors. / The second edition corrected. / — Quasi non ea 
praecipiam aliis, quae mihi ipsi desunt. Cicero. / \^Rule'] / Volume 
the First [Second] [Third]. / {^RuW] / London: / Printed for 
T. Cadell, Jun. and W. Davies, in the Strand. / 1798. 

Collation of volume one. Octavo, front. + 2 11. + pp. cxxviii 
+ 288; consisting of: Half-title ["The / Works / of/ Sir Joshua 


Reynolds, Knight; / late President of the Royal Academy. / in 
three volumes."] (with blank reverse), on first preliminary leaf; 
Sir Joshua's last self-portrait, engraved by Caroline Watson, 
frontispiece; Title-page, as above (with blank reverse), on second 
preliminary leaf; Dedication to the King, pp. [i]-ii; Malone's 
memoir^ pp. iii— cxxiv; Contents of the first volume, pp. [cxxv]- 
[cxxvii]; blank page, p. [cxxviii]; Text of first eight discourses, 
pp. [i]— 288 (the last page erroneously numbered 287). There 
are headlines throughout, but there are no catchwords. There 
are fly-titles (with blank reverses) preceding each of the dis- 
courses. The signatures are a to h, B to T (twenty-six sheets, 
each eight leaves), the whole preceded by a quarter-sheet (the two 
preliminary leaves). 

Collation of volume two. Octavo, 2 11. + pp. 427 ; consisting of: 
Title-page, as above (with blank reverse), on first preliminary 
leaf; Contents, on second preliminary leaf; Text of last seven 
discourses, pp. [i]-2i8; Three Letters to The Idler ^ pp. [219]- 
243; blank page, p. [244]; A Journey to Flanders, etc., pp. 
[245]-427. The format is identical with that of the first volume. 
The signatures are B to Dd (twenty-six sheets, each eight leaves), 
Ee (a half-sheet, four leaves), Ff (a quarter-sheet, two leaves), 
the whole preceded by a quarter-sheet (the two preliminary 
leaves, the second signed a). 

Collation of volume three. Octavo, 2 11. + pp. 370; consisting 
of: Title-page, as above (with blank reverse), on first preliminary 
leaf; Contents (with blank reverse), on second preliminary leaf; 
The Art of Paintings pp. [i]— 92; Notes on The Art of Fainting, 
pp. [93]-i89; Note by Mason, p. [190]; A Table of the Rules, 
pp. [I9i]-i94; Appendix, pp. [i95]-3375 blank page, p. [338]; 
General Index, pp. [339]-370. The format is identical with 
that of the first volume. The signatures are B to A a (twenty- 
three sheets, each eight leaves), Bb (a leaf), the whole preceded by 
a quarter-sheet (the two preliminary leaves, the second signed a). 

Notes. Preface is dated 10 February, 1798. Malone received 
;fiOO from the publishers on the publication of this edition 
(Farington's Diary, iii, 86). The most interesting association copy 
is that in the British Museum which was owned and annotated 


by William Blake. His marginalia are published in Gosse's 
edition of the Discourses (London, 1884), Gilchrist's Life of Blake 
(London, 1863), and The Writings of William Blake (ed. Keynes, 
London, 1925, iii, 5 et seq.). This edition is far inferior to that 
of 1797 typographically, but I have used it for all references to 
The Works because it is to be found in almost all the principal 
libraries of Great Britain and America, and because it contains 
Malone's last additions and corrections. 


Abington, Frances, 29 
Academie Royale de Musique, 63, 


Adam, James, 174 

Adam, Robert, 174 

Adam, R. B., 19811., 293, 295, 

Addison, Joseph, xx, 116, 2 56n. 

Cf. Spectator 
Alembert, Jean-le-Rond d', 119, 

Alexandria^ 54n. 
Algarotti, Count Francesco, 70, 80, 

I2T, I22n. 

Allibone, S. A., 196 

American Art Association, 281- 

285, 288, 289, 295, 296 
American Council of Learned 

Societies, xi 
Amsterdam, 52 
Anderdon, J. H,, i24n. 
Annual Register, 26 
Anson, Elizabeth and Florence, 

Antimachus, 124, 235 
Antwerp, 52, 71, 72, 74 
Apelles, xvi, 127 
Apuleius, 120 
Aquila Romanus, 285, 293 
Arabian Nights, 1 1 6 
Ariosto, 221 
Aristotle, io3n., 106 
Armenini, Giovanni Battista, 122 
Armstrong, Sir Walter, ix, 29 n., 

149, 249n. 
Arundel and Surrey, Countess of 

(Alathea, wife of 2nd Earl), 123 
Astle, Thomas, 94, 134 
Astley, John, i 5 
Aufrere, George, 22 5 n. 
Aylesford, 4th Earl of, see Finch 

Bacon, Sir Francis, ix; read by R., 
108-110, 116, 130, 190, 214 

Bacon, John, 2 56n., 27 5 n. 

Baker, Sir George, 194 

Bankes, John, 169 

Banks, Sir Joseph, receives Dis- 
courses horn R., 283, 285, 287- 
289, 292, 293, 295 

Banks, Thomas, 264, 274, 295, 

Baretti, Giuseppe, meets R., 14; 
imprisoned, 30; position in 
R.A., 40, 56, 184; translates 
Discourses, 51, 53-57, 67; 
quarrels with Siries, 53-59 

Baretti, Paul, 53, 57 

Barnard, Thomas, bishop of 
Killaloe, 184, 296 

Baroccio, 80-81 

Barrett, George, 283 

Barry, James, pidises R/s literary 
style, xvii, 177; connection with 
R.A., 33, 183, i97,256n.,264; 
attacks R., 45, 163 n. 

Barry, Spranger, 29 

Bath, 34 

Batteux, Charles, 233 n. 

Baxter, Richard, 163, i64n., 171 

Beaconsfield, 190 

Beattie, James, assisted by R., 72, 
94, 134; assists R., 117; re- 
ceives Discourses from R., 283, 

Beauclerk, Topham, 27, 97, 283 

Beaumont, Sir George, 147 

Bedford, Duke of, see Russell 

Behn, Afra, 6 

Benengeli, Cid Hamete, 10 

Benoit, Francois, 73n., 197 

Bernini, Giovanni, 181, 186 

Bible, 6, 114, 115, 206-208 



Biblioteca Nazionale-centrale, 
Florence, 5411. 

Bibliotheque Nationale, 67, 286, 
287, 289, 294 

Bigg, William R., 25311. 

Birrell & Garnett, Ltd., 296 

Blagden, Sir Charles, 187 

Blake, William, 198, 300 

Blakeney, William, 9 

Bodleian Library, 51, 288, 295, 

Boileau-Despreaux, Nicolas, 106 

Bologna, Clementine Academy, 54 

Bonomi, Giuseppe, 174, 175, 

Bosse, Abraham, 1 20 

Boston, Mass., 278 

Boswell, James, records ist meet- 
ing of Johnson and R., I2n.; 
on R.'s letters to Idler, 16; con- 
siders Johnson author of artists' 
preface, 25; characterizes R.'s 
dinners, 9 1 ; and R.'s conversa- 
tion, 92-93 ; hears R.'s Johnson 
and Garrick, 1 47 ; fondness for 
drink, 150— 151; member of 
Essex Street Club, 163; hears 
R.'s last Discourse, 183; dis- 
tributes it, 184; proposes Bur- 
goyne for Club, 189; on 
spelling, 193; describes R.'s 
infirmities, 173, 194; receives 
Discourses from R., 293, 295, 
296; mentioned, 73, in, 133, 
134, 143, 146; his diaries 
{Boswell Papers) quoted or 
referred to, xi, 9, 42, 73, 74, 
92, 93, 106, io8n., lion., 
142, 147, 151, 167-168, 174; 
his Hypochondriack, io8n.; his 
letters quoted or referred to, 173, 
184, i87n., 194, I97n., 296; 
Life of Johnson: dedicated to 
R., XV, 96; cancelled page, 
xvii, xviii; published, xvi; R.'s 
copy of, 96 n.; composition of, 

142, 147, 167-172; quoted or 
referred to, xi, 12, 14, 16, 30, 
42, 48, 50, 51, 67, 8on., 91, 
93, 98, 106, 118, 145, 147, 
150, 151, 155, 167, 168-171, 
193; mentioned, 149, I56n., 
i63n.,i64n.; Tour to Hebrides : 
revised by Malone, 142; read 
to R., 93; sent to R., 146; 
quoted, I55n., 180 

Bouhours, Domenic, 118 

Boulton, William B., ix, 3, 15, 
37n. _ 

Bourgeois, Peter Francis, 253 n., 

Bourke, Joseph Deane, arch- 
bishop of Tuam, 184, 296 

Boydell, John, 119, 274n. 

Branteghen, Guilhelmus de, 1 20 

Brick Row Book Shop of New 
York, 116, 283-285, 288-290, 
295, 296 

Brighton, xiv 

British Museum, x; MSS., xvi, 
I, 23-24, 77, 79-80, 195, 
235-238; books, i2on., I24n., 
144, I49n., 279-285, 287, 
289, 292, 293, 295, 296, 299 

Brocklesby, Richard, 96 

Brouwer, Adriaen, 243 

Browning, Robert, xix 

Brueghel, Pieter, 79 

Bruges, 73 

Brunton, James, 40 

Brussels, 52, 70, 74n., 76 

Buckingham, Duke of, see Shef- 

Buffier, Claude, 17, 118 

Bunce, William, 35, 36, 39, 143, 
279, 281 

Burgoyne, Gen. John, 176, 187 

Burke, Edmund, author of Dis- 
courses (^}), xvii, 117, 1 37-141, 

143, 182; on R.'s habit of 
generalizing, 7, 15, 69; on 
Melmoth's Pliny, 9; original 



member of Club, 26, 27; re- 
ceives letters from R., 70-72 ; 
Reflections on French Revolution^ 
93, 134, 188; Sublime and 
Beautiful, 26, 118, 138; criti- 
cized byjohnson, 1 1 8, i 54, i 5 5 ; 
his wit, I 5 5 ; on R.'s infirmities, 
173, 174; hears R.'s last Dis- 
course, 182, 183; method of 
writing, 245; mentioned, 45, 

73»97, 195. 198 
Burke, William, 270 n. 
Burnet, John, 277 
Burney, Charles, 182, 183, 186, 

187, 246 
Burney, Fanny, quoted, 95-96, 

io6n., 194; mentioned, 14, 

116, 146, 182 
Bute, Lord, see Stuart, John, 3rd 

Earl of Bute 
Byrne, bookseller of Dublin, 291 

Cadell, Thomas, 49, 143, 197, 

285, 287-290, 292, 295-297 
Cadell, Thomas, junior, 297, 298 
Cadiz, 8, 202 

Cambray, M. de, see Fenelon 
Cambridge, xvii 
Carew, Bamfylde Moore, 3 
Carlisle, Lord, see Howard 
Carracci, Annibale, 76, 223, 227, 

Carracci, Lodovico, 48, 223, 227, 

Carter, Elizabeth, 37 
Cartwright, Edmund, 291 
Cash, bookseller of Dublin, 291 
Catherine II ("the Great"), 

Cator, John, 296 
Caulfeild, James, ist Earl of 

Charlemont, 184, 195, 197, 

Cayme Press, 149 
Cento Favole BelHssime, 1 1 6 
Cervantes, 10 

Chambers, Sir Robert, 144, i8o> 

Chambers, Sir William, impor- 
tance in R.A., 33, 174, 256n., 
his Civil Architecture, 120; 
correspondence with R., 175, 
176, 249, 258-261, 272; men- 
tioned in R.'s Apologia, 250, 
251, 253-255, 258-261, 267- 
272, 275 

Chapman, R. W., x, 25, 83 n. 

Charlemont, Lord, see Caulfeild 

Charlotte Augusta Matilda, Prin- 
cess Royal, 36 

Charlotte Sophia, Queen, 36, 69 

Charnwood, Dorothea Lady, 23 

Chesterfield, Lord, see Stanhope 

Cholmondeley, Mary, 96 

Churchill, Charles, 27 

Churchill, John, ist Duke of 
Marlborough, ix, x 

Cibber, Susannah Maria, 29 n. 

Cicero, quoted, 78n., 98, 186, 
214, 297, 298; mentioned, 80, 
107, 125, 130, 201, 213 

Cipriani, Giovanni Battista, 40 

Clark, Thomas, 15, 16 

Claude Lorrain, 119, 242 n. 

Clayden, P. W., 94n., 131 n. 

Clenardus, 106 

Clive, Kitty, 29 n. 

Club, The, founded, 26, 27; 
Bos well intoxicated at, 150, 
151; unsuccessful candidates 
for, 187, 188; mentioned, 133, 
144, 278 

Colman, George (the elder), 30 

Colomb, Rupert, 83, 100, 149 n., 


Como, 201 

Condivi, Ascanio, 181, 248 

Constantinople, i8n. 

Cooper, Anthony Ashley, 3rd 

Earl of Shaftesbury, 10, 118, 

203-206, 222 
Cooper, Samuel, 189, 297 



Copley, John Singleton, 264 

Corfe Castle, i69n. 

Corneille, Pierre, 106 

Cornwallis, Charles, ist Marquis 
C, 144 

Correggio, Antonio Allegri da, 
characterized by Michel, 76; 
his Marriage of St Catherine, 
186, 225; mentioned in R.'s 
MSS., 222, 223, 225, 230, 
245, 248 

Corrolanus, Christopher, 119 

Cosway, Richard, 2 56n. 

Cotterell, Admiral Charles, 1 2 

Cotton, William, his Account of 
Plympton, 5n.; his Gleanings: 
quoted or referred to, xi, xv, 
2n., 5n., 133, 149, 157, I73n., 
181, 190, 191, 2i7n., 2i8n., 
243 n., 247 n., 248 n. ; errors in, 
73 n., 181; his Notes, xi, 62 n., 
67 n., I45n., 290, 296 

Cottonian Collection, xii 

Courtenay, John, 91 

Courthope, William J., 98 n. 

Courtney, William Prideaux, i6n., 

Cowley, Abraham, 179 

Coxcie, Michiel van, 7 5 

Cozens, Alexander, 120 

Crabbe, George, 94; his Village, 


Craeyer, Caspar de, 76 
Croker, John Wilson, 146 n., 149 
Cronin, William V., xii 
Crusca Academy, 52n. 
Cumberland, Richard, 62 

Dacier, Andre, 202 
Daghlian, Philip B., x 
Dalrymple, Sir David, Lord 

Hailes, 189, 297 
Dalton, Richard, 15, 40 
Dance, George, 2 56n. 
Dante, xix 
Daschaw, Princess, 67 

Daulby, Daniel, 94 

Da vies, Robert, 292 

Davies, Thomas, bookseller to 
R.A., 35, 36, 39, 280-282, 
284; printer to R.A., 49 n., 143, 
285; his Miscellaneous and 
Fugitive Pieces, 25n. 

Davies, Mrs Thomas, 49 n. 

Davies, William, 297, 298 

Demosthenes, 130, 214 

Denham, Sir John, 139 

Devonshire, 2, 8, 12, 13, 34 

Dimier, Louis, no, 126, 277 

Dionysius, 124 

Dobson, Austin, 95n., 96 n., 
I94n., 197, 278 

Dodd, William, 3 in. 

Dodsley, James, 290 

Domenichino, Domenico Zam- 
pieri, 223 

Donne, John, 79 

Doran, John, 58n., 67 n. 

Dorsetshire, 169 

Douglas, James, 14th Earl of 
Morton, 79, 80 

Dresden, 60 

Dryden, John, 85n., 102, 116, 
1 8 1 ; his translation of Plutarch, 
6, 106, 1 1 5 ; of Dufresnoy, 121, 
I22n., I25n., i29n., i85n. 

Dubos, Jean Baptiste, Abbe, 118 

Dufresnoy, Charles Alphonse, R.'s 
debt to V Art de Peinture, 6, 90, 
114, 121, 129; R.'s notes to 
Mason's translation of, 63-65, 
69, 81-86, 179, 190, 195, 
241 n., 290-299; quoted or 
referred to, 114, I22n., I25n., 
I29n., i85n. 

Diirer, Albrecht, 23 8 n. 

Dijsseldorf, 71 

Dutch painting, 44, 221 

Earlom, Richard, 1 1 9 

Ear- Wig, 94 

Eaton, F. A., 250, 269 n. 



Edgcumbe, Sir Robert, 116, 117 

Edgeworth de Firmont, Henry 
Essex, 14911.; his sister, 149 

Edwards, Edward, his Anecdotes 
of Painters, 12411.; his attempt 
to become Professor of Per- 
spective in the R.A., 252-275 

Efemeridi Letterarie di Roma, 59, 
287, 290 

Egyptian painting, 125 

Elphinston, James, 116 

Elwin, Whitwell, 98 n. 

"Emily, Revd M^", 288 

Erskine, Thomas, ist Baron E., 

Essay on Design, 120 

Essay on Landscape Painting, 120 

Ester re-Keeling, Elsa d', 73 n. 

Euphranor, 80 n. 

Euripides, 105 

Evans, Thomas, 97 

Evelyn, John, 119 

Exeter, i, 7 

Falconet, Pierre Etienne, 77 

Farington, Joseph, on R.'s literary 
style, XX ; on R.'s ability to 
collect "select Society", 91; 
on R.'s reading of novels, 117; 
on authorship of Discourses, 
136, 143; on R.'s disposition, 
176; on friction between R. 
and George III, 4on.; and 
Chambers, 174 ; on R.'s Works, 
197-198, 298, 299; other 
references, xi, xivn., 112, 187 

Farmer, Richard, 29 

Faulder, R., 290 

Federighi, Giovanni Francesco, 5 5 

Felibien, Andre, read by R., 121; 
his Tent of Darius Explained, 
5, 122, 124, 232 

Felton, Samuel, 98 

F^nelon, Fran9ois de Salignac de 
la Mothe, archbishop of Cam- 
bray, 122 

Ferdinand II, Grand Duke, 52n. 
Ferdinand III, Grand Duke, 

Fielding, Henry, novels or charac- 
ters of, 2, 9, 116 
Finch, Heneage, 4th Earl of 

Aylesford, 174, 261 n., 271 n. 
Fitzpatrick, John, Earl of Upper 

Ossory, 149 
Flanders, 46, 71-73, 82, 85 
Flint, Louisa Henrietta, 36, 37, 

Florence, xiii, 51-59 
Florentine painting, 221 
Flower, Robin, x 
Folger Library, Washington, 

I37n., 2i8n., 22on., 283, 285, 

288, 293 
Foote, Samuel, 14, 243 
Forbes, Margaret, 283 
Forbes, Sir William, 197, 198 n. 
"Formosan" language, i 
Forrer, Leonard, 52n. 
France, 46, 60, 67, 125, I49n., 

188, 189 
Franco, Giacomo, 120 
Frederick II ("the Great"), xiii 
French Academy, 252 
French painting, 44, 221 
French Revolution, xv, 181, 188 
Fresnoy, see Dufresnoy 
Friedrich, German engraver, 289 
Fry, Roger, 108, no, 277 
Fuseli, Henry, 253 n., 257, 265, 

267n., 273, 274 

Gainsborough, Thomas, Ii2n., 
133, 215, 243 n. 

Garrick, David, as an actor, 29; 
in R.'s Tzco Dialogues, 146- 
148; his copies of Discourses, 
281-286; mentioned, 30, 97, 

Garth, Sir Samuel, 139 

Genlis, Stephanie-Felicite, com- 
tesse de, 286 




Gentleman's Magazine, on R.'s 
literary style, xvi; reviews Dis- 
courses, 37, 49, 145, 280-283, 
285, 286; prints R.'s Character 
of Mrs Parker, 87-88, 284; 
and letter concerning Cooper's 
Milton, 189, 296-297 

George III, King, his connection 
with R.A., 33, 36, 38, 40, 59, 
176, 260; Discourses dedicated 
to, xvii, 48, 51, 65, 286, 297, 
299; mentioned, 45, 47, 69 

Gerard Alexander, 118, 1 1 9, 2 1 6, 

Germanicus, 203 

Germany, 36, 60, 67 

Gerspach, fidouard, 271 n. 

Ghent, 74 n. 

Gibbon, Edward, 9, I3n. 

Gibraltar, 8 

Gilchrist, Alexander, 300 

Gill, Charles, x, 34, 35, 141, 

Gillies, John, 288 

Gilpin, Sawrey, 254 

Gilpin, William, 134 

Gloucester, H.R.H. William 
Henry, Duke of, 176 

Gobelins, manufactory of the, 
270, 271 n. 

Goethe's Sorrows of Wert her, 

Goldsmith, Oliver, dedicates De- 
serted Village to R., xv, 41, 
96; relations with R., 26, 
40-42; works read by R., 93, 
106, 107; works published, 97; 
tells "white lies", 165; his 
Retaliation quoted, I57n., 174 

Goltzius, Hendrik, 243 

Gosse, Sir Edmund, 277, 300 

Gower, Lord Ronald Sutherland, 
73n., 22on., 233n. 

Grand Ducal Gallery, Florence, 

Graves, Algernon, xii 

Graves and Cronin, J History of 
the Works of Sir Joshua 
Reynolds, xii, i2on., 186, 197, 
225n., 27in. 

Gray, Thomas, 81, 106, 158, 180 

Greece, 46 

Green way, George Lauder, x, 16, 
17, no, 114, 119, 121 

Greig, James, xi 

Griffin, William, 39, 143, 281, 
282, 284, 285 

Grotius, 90 

Guidiccioni, Lelio d'Ippolito, 186 

Guido Reni, 218, 222, 223, 240 

Gwatkin, Mrs Theophila Palmer, 
148, 149 

Gwatkin, Miss, 152 

Gwynn, John, i 5 

Gv^nn, Stephen, 267 n. 

Hague, The, 52, 71 

Hailes, Lord, see Dalrymple 

Hamburg, 61 

Hamilton, Hon. Capt., 119 

Hamilton, Jenny, see Moore 

Hamilton, William, 273 

Harcourt, George Simon, 2nd 

Earl H. (Viscount Nuneham), 

279, 281-286 
Harcourt, Mary Ethel Burns, 

Viscountess, x 
Hardwicke, Lord, see Yorke 
Harris, James, 8 5 n., 96, 117, 181 
Harvard College Library, x, 144, 

279-285, 288, 289, 293; 

Lowell collection, 284, 288; 

Theatre collection, 49, I49n.; 

Widener collection, 96 n., 

2i9n., 223n. 
Hastings, Warren, I44n., 284 
Hawes, William, 97 
Hawkesworth, John, 280, 281 
Hawkins, Sir John, 26, 137, 

161 n., i63n., 170 
Hawkins, Laetitia Matilda, 36n., 

I37n., 149 



Haydon, Benjamin Robert, 176, 

Hayley, William, 82, 156 

Hayman, Francis, i 5 

Hazen, Allen T., x, 25 n., 283, 286 

Hazlitt, William, xivn., 20 n., 
141 n. 

Heberden, William, 163 

Heidbrink, F. H., ir4n. 

Henry VIII, 73 

Herculaneum, 64, 172 

Heme the Hunter, 27 

Hibernian Magazine, 137 

Hill, G. B., 25, i56n., i63n.; 
his editions quoted or referred 
to: Gibbon's Memoirs, 13; 
"Johnsonian Miscellanies, xii, 
xiv, I2n., 14,49,93, 146-149, 
152, i6on., i6in., i62n., 191, 
196, 286; Letters of Johnson, 
3 7 n ., 8 3 n . ; Life of Johnson, see 
Bos well; Lives of Poets, 5, 85, 
132, 179, 191 

Hilles, F. W., Letters of Sir 
Joshua, xii (for quotations from 
or references to see Reynolds); 
books of, 83, 116, 119, i2on., 
198, 266n., 279-289, 291- 
296 ; MS. letters of, 2 n., 70, 182, 
198; MS. commonplace book 
of, 30, 87 n., 98 n., loon., 
io3n., 115, 2oin., 2o6n., 
2o8n., 209n., 2iin., 2i2n., 
2i8n., 222n., 227n., 233; 
other MSS. of, loi, 150, 152, 
187, 223n., 224n. 

Hippocrates, 209 

Historical Manuscripts Commission, 
84n., I95n., i97n., i98n. 

History of Painting, 120 

Hodges, William, 2 53n., 2 56n. 

Hodgson, J. E., 250, 269 n. 

Hogarth, William, xix, 17, 72, 

Holland, 46, 85, 120 {see Nether- 

Homer, mentioned in R.'s 
writings, 18, 19, 103 n., 105, 
179, 226, 244, 245 ; Pope's trans- 
lation of, 106, 115, 132, 178- 
179, 245; Pope's commentary 
on, 87 n., 115,212, 2 1 3,21 8 n.; 
mentioned, 112, 124 

Hoole, John, 161 n. 

Horace, xvi, 107, 205 n.; his y/r/ 
of Poetry, i29n., i85n., 210; 
his Emblems, 119 

Horneck, Catherine and Mary, 
97 n. 

Horner, Ann Susan and Joanna 
B., 52n. 

Howard, Frederick, 5th Earl of 
Carlisle, 34, 187 

Huddesford, George, 95, 96 

Hudson, Ohio, 277 

Hudson, Thomas, 8, 15, 86 

Hume, Sir Abraham, 112 

Humphry, Ozias, 273 n. 

Huntington Library, Pasadena, 
37 n., 90 n. 

Hutchins, John, i69n. 

Inchiquin, Lady, see Palmer, 

India, 144 

Ingpen, Roger, 286 

Ireland, 29 n., 144, 182, 183 

Iseus, 203 

Isham, Lieut.-Col. Ralph Hey- 
ward, xi 

Italy, R. in, i, 9-1 1, i8n., 120; 
R.'s love of, 51; publication of 
Discourses in, 51-68, 287, 
294-295; painting in, 65, 125, 
237 {see Florentine painting, 
Roman painting, Venetian 

James II, King, 86 
Jansen, Cornelius, 1690. 
Jansen, Hcndrik, 62-67, 121, 
143, 178, 190 



Jenkin, bookseller of Dublin, 291 
Jephson, Robert, 184, 197, 296 
Jerdan, William, 21911., 22311. 
Jerningham, Edward, 282 
Jesuit's Perspective, 5 
John, Fran9ois du, see Junius 
John Rylands Library, 296 
Johnson, E. G., 277 
Johnson, Elizabeth Reynolds, 3, 

Johnson, Mary, 2n. 
Johnson, R. Brimley, 149 
Johnson, Samuel (R.'s nephew), 

46, 144, 145 
Johnson, Dr Samuel, praised as 
a rider, xiv ; as a conversational- 
ist, xv, 92, 146-148, I 50-1 51; 
suspected of writing the Dis- 
courses, xvii— xix ; his dedication of 
them, xvii, xviii, 48-49, 65,286; 
meets R., 12, I3n.; his opinion 
of R., 14, 50, 93, 145, 174; 
meets Percy and Goldsmith, 26 ; 
dislikes Mrs Montagu's essay, 
30; writes to Miss Flint, 37 n.; 
professor in R.A., 40; revises 
Discourses, 46, 134-137, 139, 
140, 234n.; on Baretti, 51, 53, 
54; receives books from R., 83, 
290; criticizes Mason, 83, 84; 
knowledge of "the Classicks", 
106; on aesthetics, 118; on 
Garrick, 147; on drinking, 
I 50-1 5 1 ; R.'s character-sketch 
of, 1 52-171; monument to, 
176; on Pope, 132, 179, 226; 
advice to writers, 180; on 
allegorical painting, 191; on 
the "Saxon k", 193; manner of 
writing, 245; mentioned, 5, 35, 
42, 95-97, i95» 241 n., 246, 
277; Writings: read by R., 
117; Address of Painters, etc., 
I5n.; Dictionary, 117, 158; 
Idler, 15-23, 26, 69, 190, 194, 
195, 278, 279, 297, 299; 

Lives of Poets, 12, 83, 85, 117, 
I32n., I79n., 191 n.; Misc. 
and Fugitive Pieces, 25n.; 
preface of artists' catalogue, 
24-25, 38n.; Rambler, I5n., 
I02n., 132; Rasselas, 17, 21, 
117, 135, i62n., 166, 193; 
Shakespeare, 26-29, 32> 37, 
loin., I02n., 104, 279 

Johnson, William, 142, I44n., 

Johnson Museum, Lichfield, 149 

Jones, Sir William, 144 

Jonson, Ben, 109, 116, 211, 235 

Jordaens, Jakob, 74 

Joseph II, Emperor, 73 

Junius, Franciscus, 107, 122-127, 
180, 235n. 

Keate, George, 283 

Keith, H. M., see Thrale, 

Kemble, John, xiv, 167 
Keppel, Augustus, ist Viscount 

K., 8 
King, Capt. James, 183 
King, Dr Walker, 183 
Kingston Lacy, i69n. 
Kirby, Joshua, 3 3 
Kirkley, Ralph, 185 
Knight, Cornelia, 34n., 36 
Knipe, Eliza, 94 
Knowles, John, 265 n., 274n. 
Kosmeli, A. E., 60 
Kraye, Lambert, 120 

La Bruyere, Jean de, 211 
Lairesse, Gerard de, 120 
Lamb, W. R. M., x, 278 
Lambert, Michel, 37, 63, 64, 280 
Langhorne, John, 281, 283, 285, 

Langton, Bennet, meets R., 14; 

connection with R.A., 40—41; 

knowledge of Greek, 106; on 

authorship oi Discourses, 137; 



visits the dying Johnson, 160, 
161 n.; contributes to Life of 
Johnson, 167, 168, 193; men- 
tioned, 95, 145, 146 

Lansdowne, Lord, see Petty 

La Rochefoucauld, de, Francois, 
6th Duke, 14 

Lastri, Marco, 53, 54, 56, 58 

Laurence, French, 118, 147, 187 

Le Breton, Andre, 37 n. 

Le Brun, Charles, 122, 221, 232 

Lees, Mr, 296 

Leghorn, 53, 57 

Leipzig, 36, 60 

Leisching, Eduard, no, 277 

Lely, Sir Peter, i69n. 

Leo X, 1 2 5 

Leslie, C. R., inaccuracies in 
transcribing Apologia, 249, 
256n., 258n., 259n., 26in., 
262n., 267n., 27on., 272n., 
273 n., 276 n.; other inaccu- 
racies, 23, 29n., 152, i62n., 
i64n.; mentioned, 148, 157, 
167, 177, 183, 255n., 264n., 
265 n.; other quotations from 
or references to his biography, 
ix, xii, 2n., 3, 5, 6, 7n., iin., 
I2n., 15, i8n., 45, 49, 70, 
73, 77, 82, 98n., 149, i73n., 
176, i84n., i85n., 196, 269n. 

Le Sueur, Eustache, 221 

Lewis, Wilmarth S., 119, I37n., 

Library of the Fine Arts, 5n., 

Liotard, John Stephen, 1 8 n. 

Lisbon, 8 

Liverpool, 94 

Livy, 126, 127, 202 

Lloyd, Robert, 1 1 6 

Lomazzo, Paulo, 122 

London, General: R.'s appren- 
ticeship in, 8; R. establishes 
self in, 12, 29 n., 33; Miss 
Flint visits, 37; Siries visits. 

52, 56; R.'s letters from, 63, 
66, 97; mentioned, 22 n., 54, 
73, 170, 190; Streets, etc.: 
Berkeley Square, 42; Covent 
Garden, xvi; Essex St., 163; 
Haymarket, 184; Leicester 
Fields (Square), 25, 87, 97, 
105, 131, 145, 242n.; Lin- 
coln's Inn Fields, 8, 16; May- 
fair, 42, 105; Piccadilly, 63; 
Ranelagh, 26; St Martin's 
Lane, 1 2 ; Strand, 185; Thames, 
210; Vauxhall, 26; Buildings, 
etc. : Bedford Coffee House, xvi ; 
British Museum {see separate 
entry); Crown and Anchor, 26; 
House of Commons, 2i7n.; 
Lyceum, 185; Royal Academy 
{see separate entry); St Paul's, 
149, 176; Soane Museum, 

1 in.; Somerset House, 178, 
182, 233 n.; Turk's Head 
Tavern, 105; Victoria and 
Albert Museum, 7n., 119; 
Westminster Abbey, 167, 210, 

2 29n.; Whitehall, 247 n. 
London Chronicle, publications 

advertised in, 45, 49, 82, 198, 

286, 291; other references to, 

22, 175, 279 
London Magazine, io8n. 
London New Monthly Magazine, 

Lonsdale, Lord, see Lowther 
Louis XV, 52n. 
Louis XVI, i49n. 
Lowndes, William Thomas, 196 
Lowth, Robert, bishop of London, 

Lowther, James, ist Earl of 

Lonsdale, i ion. 
Ludovico III, Grand Duke, 52n. 
Luxemburg Galleries, 191, 237 

Macartney, George, ist Earl M., 



Macklin, Charles, 295 

M'Cormick, Charles, 138-140 

Madigan, Thomas & Co., 17311. 

Msecenas, xvi, 151 

Maggs, Messrs, 9711. 

Maintenon, Fran^oise, marquise 
de, 37 

Mallet, David {alias Malloch), 

Malone, Edmond, as biographer of 
R,, xix, xxn., 6, 8, 68, 73, 86, 
91, 134, 139-140; as editor of 
R.'s Works ^ xii, 77, 81, 109, 
no, 146, 186, 193, 195-198, 
225n., 277, 290, 297—300; 
as editor of Shakespeare, xv, 29, 
98-101; recipient of R.'s pam- 
phlets, 22, 183-184, 279, 296; 
on Dufresnoy, 84; his literary 
assistance to R., 142-143, 190, 
195; to Boswell, 25, 142, 167; 
hears Johnson and Garrick, 
147; on Burke's wit, 155; 
attitude towards French Revo- 
lution, 188; mentioned, 7, 176, 

Malone, Richard, Lord Sunderlin, 
184, 296 

Malton, Thomas, 119, 257n. 

Mann, Sir Horace, 58, 67 

Manners, Charles, 4th Duke of 
Rutland, 73, 146 

Mansfield, Lord, see Murray 

Maquignon, P., 176 

Marcus Antoninus, 6 

Marie Antoinette, 67, 294 

Marlborough, Duke of, see 
Churchill, John 

Martial, 116 

Masaccio, Tommaso Guidi, 193, 
226, 240 

Mason, William, meets R., 81 ; 
his Life of Gray, 81, 180; 
helped by R., 94; his transla- 
tion of Dufresnoy, 63, 64, 
82-84, 194, 195; biblio- 

graphical notes on, 290-294, 

Maxwell, William, 167 

Mayer, Joseph, 94 n. 

Mechlin, 79 

Media, 207 

Medici, 59; Ferdinand II de', 
52n.; Lorenzo I (the Magni- 
ficent) de', 94 

"Melmoth, Courtney", see Pratt 

Melmoth, William (the younger), 
9, 201 

Menander, 105 

Mengs, Anton Raphael, 61, 62, 

Metastasio, Pietro A. D. B., 215, 


Metcalfe, Philip, 70, 74, 77, 80, 


Metropolitan Museum of Art, 
New York, 10, i8n., 119, 
203 n. 

Meyer, Jeremiah, 263 

Michel, J. F. M., 76 

Michelangelo, his Rime in R.'s 
library, 120; R. compared to, 
145; references in R.'s MSS. 
to, 18, 222-225, 229, 238, 240, 
243, 245, 246, 248; references 
in R.'s pubhcations to, 19, 127, 
177, 179, 181, 198; mentioned, 
xiii, 45, 112, 130 

Michelmore, G. and Co., 116 

Milton, John, read by R., 6, 116; 
quoted by R., 3 in., 79, 183, 
267; R.'s miniature of, 189, 

Minorca, 8, 9, 33 

Moliere, 106 

Molini, Giovanni Claudio, 36 

Monckton, Mary, xvii 

Moncrieffe, bookseller of Dublin, 

Monmouth, Duke of, see Scott, 

Montagu, George, 282 



Montagu, Mrs Elizabeth, her 
copies of the Discourses, 280, 

284, 285, 288, 293, 295, 296; 
mentioned, xvii, 30 

Monthly Review, 49, 278, 280- 
283, 285, 286, 288, 289, 291, 

Monville, abbe de, 121 
Moore, Edward, 1 1 7 
Moore, Mrs Jenny, 117, 280 
More, Hannah, 145, 146, 149, 

Morning Post, 284 
Morton, Lord, see Douglas 
Moser, George Michael, 86, 290 
Moser, Mary, 281 
Moses, 18, 180, 213 
Mountstuart, Lord, see Stuart, 

John, 4th Earl of Bute 
Moutard, Paris bookseller, 293 
Mudge, Zachariah, 2, 7, 14, 20 n. 
Murray, William, ist Earl of 

Mansfield, 30 
Musgrave, Mary, 287 
Musgrave, Samuel, 93 

Nagler, G. C, 52n. 

Nangle, Benjamin C, 278 

Naples, 225 

Neilson, James, or Jacques, 271 n. 

Nelson, Robert, 6 

Nepos, 203 

Netherlands, 82, ii(){see Holland) 

Neue Bibliothek, 36, 60, 61, 280- 

285, 287-289, 291, 293, 296 
Newbery, Francis, 97 
Newton, Francis M., 144, 252, 

279-285, 287-289, 292, 293, 

295, 296 
Newton, Thomas, bishop of 

Bristol, 186 
New York Public Library, 94 n., 

281, 283, 292, 295 
Nicomachus, 124 
Nollekens, Joseph, 283, 288, 289, 

295, 296 

Northcote, James, on his father, 4; 
on R.'s education, 7, 1 1 1 ; on 
R.'s meeting with Johnson, 1 2 n. ; 
on R.'s Idlers, 16, 17; on R.'s 
debt to Mudge, 20 n.; on 
authorship of artists' Preface, 
25; receives letters from Gill, 
34; his letters in R.A., 40 n., 
45-46, 87-88, 141; on com- 
position of Discourses, 131, 
134, 137, 140-142, 224n.; 
elected A.R.A., 253 n.; on 
Council of R.A., 2 56n.; on 
authorship of Observations, 
267 n.; his life of R. quoted or 
referred to, xii, xiv, 2, 13, 14, 
i8n., 21, 27, 34, 37n., 45n., 
62n., 73n., 87, 88, 92, 97n., 
io3n., io4n., 105, 116, i63n., 
196, 2i8n., 222n., 227n., 
229n., 233, 284 

North American Review, 1 49 

Northwestern University, Ii4n. 

Norton, Charles Eliot, 144 

Norwich, 40 

Notes and ^eries, 116, 119 

Novelle Letterarie, 53, 56, 287 

Nugent, Thomas, 27 

Nuneham, Viscount, see Harcourt 

Nuneham Courtney, x, 279, 281- 

Observations on the Discourses, 43, 

Observations on the present state 

of the Royal Academy, 266 n. 
Oglethorpe, James Edward, 42 
Opie, John, 253 n., 256n. 
Orion, Mr (of Brussels), 74 
Ortlepp, Paul, ii4n., 294 
Ossory, Lord, see Fitzpatrick 
Ovid, 4, 115, 203, 2 22n. 
Oxford, xvii, i, 2, 6, 14, 22, 

Oxford Book of English Prose, xix 
Oxford English P ictionary, 23 n. 



Padua, 295 

Pallman, Reinhold, 5211, 

Palmer, John, 288 

Palmer, Joseph, 288 

Palmer, Mary (Lady Inchiquin, 
Lady Thomond), R.'s amanu- 
ensis, 34, 79i^-» H2, 147, 181, 
188, 248 n.; prints and dis- 
tributes Johnson and Garrick, 
148-149; on R.'s "age and 
infirmities", 173; on R.'s 
Apologia, 175-176; presents 
Works to R.A., 198; her copy of 
7th discourse, 285; mentioned, 

73, 195 
Palmer, Nicholas, 283 
Palmer, Theophila, 286 
Palmerston, Lord, see Temple 
Paradise, John, 163 
Paris, 36, 37, 62, 63, 270, 294 
Parker, the Hon. Mrs John 

(Theresa Robinson), 87, 88, 

Parmigiano, Francesco Mazzuoli, 

called, 179, 180, 223, 246, 248 
Parsons, Mrs Florence Mary, 149 
Parsons, William, 5, 122, 232n. 
"Pasquin, Anthony", see Williams 
Patch, Thomas, 120 
Peck, Frederick S., 63 
Peete, Charles S., 17, Ii4n., 126 
Pelli, Giuseppe, 51, 52 
Pensies Ing^nieuses des Peres de 

VEglise, 116 
Percy, Thomas, bishop of Dro- 

more, xviii, 26, 184, 296 
Perrault, Charles, 218 
Petronius, 107, 125, 126 
Petty, William, ist Marquis Lans- 

downe, 252 
Phidias, 127 
Philip, Miss F. S., x 
Phillips, Claude, ix, 73 n. 
Phillips, H., 120, 124 
Philopoemen, 126 
Piccioni, Luigi, 54n. 

Pietro Leopoldo I, Grand Duke, 

.51, 52, 57, 59 

Pietro Leopoldo II, Grand Duke, 

Piles, Roger de, 114, 115, 119, 
122, I25n., i85n. 

Pindar, 241 

Pindarick Ode on Painting, 94 

Pine, John, 1 5 

Piozzi, Hester Lynch, xiii, xiv, 
53, 90, 95, 146, 170 

Pisa, 71 

Pitti Gallery, 52n. 

Plato, 106, 215 

Pliny, 9, 77, 80, 201, 202, 203, 

Plutarch, 6, 80, 106, 108, 115, 
124, 126 

Plymouth, 8 

Plymouth Museum, xii 

Plympton, 2, 4, 5, 32, 115 

Poggi, Anthony, 69, 70 

Polycletus, 127 

Pope, Alexander, read by R., xiii, 
6, 98 n., 106, 112, 116; men- 
tioned in R.'s writings, 164, 
178, 179, 226, 245; seen by 
R., 85; his Iliad, i8n., 87 n., 
98n., 115, 132, 178, 179, 
212-213, 2i8n., 244n., 245; 
his Shakespeare, 28; men- 
tioned, xix, 2, ii7n. 

Port Mahon, 8, 9 

Porteus, Beilby, bishop of London, 
145, 183, 296 

Pottle, Frederick A., x, xi, i68n., 

Poussin, Nicolas, 191, 221, 223, 
229-231, 238, 240 

Powell, L. F., X, xi, 25, 286, 287 

Pratt, S. J. ("Courtney Mel- 
moth"), 97 

Price, W. G., 148 

Primaticcio, Francesco, 221 

Princeton University Library, 



Prior, Sir James, his life of Burke, 
94n., ii8n., 18311.; his life 
of Malone, 260., 3011., 8511., 

Proclus, 107 

Protogenes, 127 

Psalmanaazaar, George, i, 211. 

Public Advertiser, 86, 87, 88, 
284, 286, 290 

Publications of the Modern Lan- 
guage Association, ii4n., 11711., 
ii8n., 12911. 

Pulling, F. S., 73n. 

Quadrio, F. S., 186, 187 
Quintilian, 107, 125 

Rabelais, 210 

RadclifFe, Susan M., 2n.; her 
edition of Sir Joshua's Nephew 
quoted or referred to, xii, 2 2n., 
41, 46, I44n. 

Ralph's Exhibition, I20n., 185, 

Raphael, mentioned in R.'s publi- 
cations, 19, 127, 192, 198; in 
R.'s MSS., 196, 221, 223, 
225-227, 229-231, 238, 246- 
248; other references to, xix, 
76, 112, 180 

Redenvoerengen Gedaan in de 
Teken Acad., 120 

Reed, Isaac, 29 

Reinagle, Philip, 2 53n. 

Rembrandt, mentioned in R.'s 
MSS., 74, 218, 229, 230, 240, 
245; his works collected by 
Daulby, 94; by R., 184 

Remondini, Giuseppe, 295 

Reynolds, Elizabeth, see Johnson, 

Reynolds, Frances, her jfohn- 
soniana, I2n., I3n., 146; her 
relations with Miss Flint, 36, 
37; mentioned, 4, I44n., 197 

Reynolds, John, 2 

Reynolds, Sir Joshua, The Man : 
Biographical Details: early 
life (1723-1749), 1-8; Italian 
tour (1749-17 5 2), 8-1 1 ; settles 
in London (1753), 12; meets 
Johnson (? 1756), 12-14; 
writes Idlers (1759), ^5-22; 
member Society of Artists 
(1762), 24, 25; tour to Devon 
with Johnson (1762), 169; 
founds Club (1764), 26; critic 
of Shakespeare (1765), 27-32; 
tour to Paris (1768), 37, 270; 
becomes president of R.A. 
(1768), 33; knighted (1769), 
40; his first two discourses, 
(1769), 34-39; his obituary of 
Mrs Parker (1775), 87-89; 
his Seven Discourses (1778), 
46-50; later notes to Shake- 
speare {} 1780), 98-105; aids 
Poggi (178 1), 69-70; Flemish 
tours (1781, 1785), 70-81; 
annotates Dufresnoy (1780- 
1783), 81-86; his obituary of 
Moser (1783), 86; attends the 
dying Johnson (1784), 160, 
161; records his impressions of 
him (1785-1791), 146-172; 
corresponds with Jansen (1786— 
1787), 62-67; loses sight of 
one eye (1789), 173; tension 
at Club (1790), 187-188; dis- 
agreement at R.A. ( 1790—179 1 ), 
174-177; delivers final dis- 
course (1790), 177-183; ex- 
hibits his collection of pictures 
(1791), 184-186; revises Dis- 
courses (1791), 190—194; dies 
(1792), 194-195; Character- 
istics: his temperament, 173, 
174, 176; as a conversationalist, 
14, 91-93, I 50; as critic of art, 
69-86; as critic of literature, 
6, 93-105; as a host, 90-92; 
as a speaker, 33-34, 182; as 



Reynolds, Sir Joshua {contd) 
a theorist, 7, 114, 117, 118, 
129; The Painter: appren- 
ticeship, I, 8, II, 86; devotion 
to his profession, xiv, xvii; 
reputation, xvi, 25, 37, 65, 95, 
138; portraits by him, 16, 41, 
52, 59, 95, 183; on artists' 
committee, i 5 ; member Society 
of Artists, 24; relations with 
R.A., see Royal Academy; his 
collection of paintings, 184— 
1 86, 1 89 ; The Writer : Books 
dedicated to him, xiv, xv, 30, 
94-97, 98 n.; read by him, xiii, 
4-12, 17, 20, 30, 76, 79, 80, 
84, 85, 94, 106-110, 1 14-127, 
129, 130, 134, 138, 146, 180, 
181, 188, 190, 201-216, 
2 27n.; written by him, see 
below; Estimate of his 
Writings: by his contempor- 
aries, xiii, xv-xvii, xix, xx, 7, 43— 

45, 50, 59-63, 65, 67, 69, 78, 
83, 90, 97-100, 106, III, 113, 
136, 137, i45».i75» 177;, 182, 
197; his own, xiii, xv, xvii, xix, 
66, 89, 90; Literary Friend- 
ships, XV, xvii, xviii, 7, 9, 13, 
14, 26, 40, 41, 51, 81, 82, 
9i> 93-97, 100, 101,118, 134, 
144, 147, 186, 187; Manu- 
scripts :y//»^/o^/<7, XV, 175, 176, 
249—276; commonplace books, 
etc., I, 6, 10, II, i8n., 30, 
87n., 98n., loon., I03n., 115, 
201-213, 218, 222n., 227, 
233; Discourses, xv, 118, 124, 
131-132, 135-136, 178-182, 
190—192, 196, 2 1 7-248 ;y6'/^/?- 
soniana, 12,1 46-1 7 2 ; Journey to 
Flanders, 73-81; letters (pub- 
lished) quoted or referred to, 
xii, xvi, 3n., 6, 8, 33, 40-41, 

46, 51, 52, 65, 72, 73, 86, 
94, 108, 135, 143, 146, 175, 

184, 194, 225 n., 249, 2 53n., 
277 ; letters (additional), 63, 66, 
70—72, 97; miscellaneous, xiii, 
XV, 23-24, 49, 69, 181, 185- 
1 89 ; pocketbooks, xii, 1 3 n., 1 5, 
1 6, 37, 72; reading notes, 9, 
30-32, 130, 201-216; Shake- 
speare, XV, 101-105; Publi- 
cations: bibliography of, 277- 
300; Discourses', x, xiii, xv— xix, 
1 5, 29, 3 5-69, 109-1 10, i2on., 
128-145, 177-184, 190-198, 
277-300; notes to Dufresnoy, 
63-65, 69, 81-86, 179, 190, 
195, 241 n., 290-299; Journey 
to Flanders, 69, 73-81, 190, 
195, 198, 297-299; obituaries, 
86-89, 284, 290; Poggi's 
advertisement, 69, 70; prefaces 
to exhibition catalogues, 24, 25, 
38,18 5-1 86 ; ? Plan of an Aca- 
demy, I 5 ; notes to Shakespeare, 
XV, 27-29, 98-100, io4n., 
279; Works quoted or referred 
to, xii, 5, 6, 8, II, 20 n., 34, 
39,44,68,70, 74, 76n., 78, 79, 
112, 113, i2on., 121, 122, 
124-132, 134-136, 139' 140, 
143, 179, 180, 184, 188, 190- 
194, 196, 2i4n., 2i8n.-23on., 
232n.-248n., 277, 290, 297- 

Reynolds, Mary, 4 

Reynolds, Samuel, i— ^ 

Reynst, Gerard, 119 

Richards, John Inigo, 251, 2 57n. 

Richardson, Jonathan (the elder), 
5, 6, 16, 17, 120, 121, 129 

Richardson, Jonathan (the young- 
er), i64n. 

Richardson, Samuel, 9, 14, 117 

Richelieu, Cardinal, xiv 

Rigaud, John Francis, 268 n., 269 

Rivarol, Antoine, 37 n. 

Rivers, Earl, see Savage 



Roberts, S. C, 295 

Roberts, William, x 

Roberts, William (biog. of Hannah 
More), 145 n., 284 

Robertson, William, i 5 5 n. 

Rogers, Samuel, 120, 183 

Roman painting, 238 

Romano, Julio, 220, 238 

Rome, 61, 186, 202, 203, 226 

Romney, John, 1 19 

Rooker, Michael Angelo, 2 57n. 

Rosa, Salvator, 223^ 242 n. 

Roscoe, William, 94 

Rose, Samuel, 289 

Rossetti, William, 278 

Rotheram, John, 293 

Rotterdam, 70, 71 

Roubiliac, Louis Francois, xix, i 5, 
229, 275n. 

Rousseau, Jean Jacques, 37 

Royal Academy, formation, 15, 
33» 38, 47» 59» 65. 86, 145; 
R. lectures in, xvii, 34, 35, 39, 
42,43, 56,62, 141, 182, 183; 
R. quarrels with, xv, 69, 174— 
177, 187, 249-276; printers 
and booksellers to, 36, 49, 143, 
279-289, 292, 295-299; hon- 
orary professorships in, 40, 41 ; 
offered R.'s collection of paint- 
ings, 184, 185; R.'s absence 
from meetings, 194; Barry 
lectures at, 197; Works given 
to, 198; edition of Discourses 
sponsored by, 278; Northcote's 
letters in, 46n., 88n., 141 n.; 
Minutes of Council quoted, 35, 
38, 40, 49n., 251 n., 2 52n., 
2 57n-26on,; Reynolds MSS. 
in, X, 2n., 4, 35, 74, 77, 83, 
100, 105, 109, 118, 124, 135, 
I49n., 178, 181, 185, 186, 
214-276; mentioned, xvi, 60, 
98, 128, 129, 137, 138, 144, 

Royal Society, 187 

Rubens, Peter Paul, R.'s opinion 
of, 70-72, 74-76, 79-81, 191; 
mentioned in R.'s MSS., 218, 
223, 237, 238, 240, 242n., 
247 n.; eulogized by Michel, 
76; mentioned, 85, 112, 

Ruskin, John, 198 

Russell, William, ist Duke of 
Bedford, 86 

Russia, 58 

Rutland, Duke of, see Manners 

St Georges, Mr, 63, 64 

St James's Chronicle, 177, 184, 
185, 286 

Saint Prix, Guyon de, 63 

Sandrart, Joachim von, 1 1 9 

Sandby, Paul, 251, 2 57n. 

Sandby, Thomas, 252, 2 57n., 263 

Sandby, William, 45 n., 250 

Savage, Richard, 12 

Savage, Richard, 4th Earl of 
Rivers, 12 

Schlickeysen, F, W. A., 52n. 

Scotland, 160 

Scott, Geoffrey, xi 

Scott, James, Duke of Monmouth 
and Buccleuch, 86 

Seneca, 6, 208 n., 210 

Sevigne, Marie, marquise de, 37 

Shaftesbury, Lord, see Cooper 

Shakespeare, William, i8th cen- 
tury editions, xv, 26-29, 98, 
99, 195, 197; read by R., 6, 
30—32, 116; quoted by R., 
24, 76, 79, 106, 154, 159, 
225, 227, 237; mentioned in 
R.'s MSS., 133, 220, 224; R.'s 
notes on, 27-29, 69, 98-105, 
112, 241 n.; Lord Mansfield's 
comments on, 30; Mrs Mon- 
tagu's Essay y 30; Stratlbrd 
Jubilee, 30; Johnson's remarks 
on, 37; Dryden's preface to 
Tempest, 181 



Sheffield, John, Duke of Bucking- 
ham and Normanby, 8 5 
Sheridan, Richard Brinsley, 93, 

96, 134 

Shipley, Jonathan, bishop of St 
Asaph, 108 

Siddons, Mrs Sarah, 29, 149 

Siries, Cosimo, 51 

Siries, Louis, 52n. 

Siries, Luigi, 51-59, 61 

Siries, Violante Beatrice, 52n. 

Skrine, F. H., 36n., i37n., 149 

Smith, Adam, 17, 20 

Smith, D. Nichol, 22, 25, 195, 

Smollett, Tobias, 9 

Society for Promoting Arts, Manu- 
factures, and Commerce, 121 

Society of Artists, 24 

Society of Dilettanti, 1 5 

Sophocles, 105 

Sotheby & Co., auctioneers R. 
MSS., xiiin., 72n., 73, 81, 
135; books from R.'s library, 
6, 120; mentioned, io6n., 

Spectator, 6, 17, 98 n., 108, 181, 

Spencer, George John, 2nd Earl 
S., 296; his Lady, 104 

Sprangher, Bartholomew, 243 

Stanhope, Philip Dormer, 4th 
Earl of Chesterfield, 79, 80, 
154, 156, 283 

Steele, Richard, 108, 116 

Steevens, George, editor of Shake- 
speare, XV, 29, 99; reads proof 
for R., 136, 143; member of 
Essex Street Club, 163; assists 
Boswell, 1 67 ; mentioned, 

Stephen, Leslie, 82 n. 
Sterne, Laurence, 117 
Stevens, Mr (of Antwerp), 74 
Stewart, Dugald, 20 n. 
Stockholm, 270 n. 

Stonehewer, Richard, 284, 285, 

Stratford Jubilee, 30 
Stuart, James, 282 
Stuart, John, 3rd Earl of Bute, 

lion., 151 
Stuart, John (Lord "Mount- 

stewart"), 4th Earl of Bute, 1 50, 

Sunderlin, Lord, see Malone, 

Surtees, Robert, 281 
Switzerland, 86 

Targioni, Giovanni, 54n. 

Tasso, 221 

Tatler, 6, 207, 2 56n. 

Taylor, John, 1 67 

Taylor, Tom, his life of R., see 
Leslie; his mistakes, 37n., 45, 
49; mentioned, 4, 6, I2n., 15, 
72, 73, 98n. 

Temple, Henry, 2nd Viscount 
Palmerston, 95, 96 

Teniers, David, 133, 243 

Terence, 105, 235 

TertuUian, 107, 125 

Theobald, Lewis, 28, 30, 3 in. 

Theophrastus, 6 

Thomond, Lady, see Palmer, 

Thompson, E. N. S., 17, 114, 
117, 118, I29n. 

Thrale, Henry, 147, 284 

Thrale, Mrs, see Piozzi 

Thrale, "Queeney", 286 

Tibullus, 30 

Timanthes, 124 

Tinker, C. B., 2n.; his edition of 
Boswelfs letters quoted or re- 
ferred to, 173 n., i84n., i87n., 
I94n., I97n., 296 

Tintoretto, 74, 221 

Tiraboschi, Girolamo, 186, 187 

Titian, mentioned by Michel, 76; 
by Algarotti and Webb, 80; 



in R.'s Works, 81, 135, 24211.; 

in R.'s MSS. 221, 229, 231, 

234; R. owns paintings by, 

Todd, J. (bookseller of York), 

Tonson, Jacob, 98 n. 
Torrington, 148 
Townshend, Charles, 86 
Toynbee, Mrs Paget, 79 n., 82 n., 

iiyn., 290 
Tregaskis, James and Son, 23 3 n., 

Turnbull, George, 120 
Turner, Joseph M. W., 2 58n. 
Tuscany, 54, 57 
Tyler, William, 250, 260, 264, 


UiRzi, 52 

Universal Catalogue of Books on 

Art, 197 
Universal Chronicle, 278 

Vasnius, Otho, 119 

van Bischop, Jan, 181 

Vandyck, Sir Anthony, 133, 

i69n., 184 
Vasari, Giorgio, 11, i2on., 234, 

Vatican, 18, 196, 226, 246 
Venetian painting, 44, 221, 


Venice, 60, 71, 85, 238 

Veronese, Paulo, 76, 221, 240 

Versailles, 37 

Versteegh, Dirk, 286 

Vesey, Mrs Elizabeth, xvii, 83, 

288, 291 
Vinci, Leonardo da, 6, 122 
Virgil, 10, 115, 212 
Voltaire, 118 
Voyage to the He de France, 1 1 6 

Wainewright, Jeremiah, 208, 

Wale, Samuel, 251 

Walker, Joseph, 137, 291 

Walpole, Horace, interested in 
Dufresnoy, 82; Felton dedi- 
cates books to, 98 n.; on author- 
ship of Discourses, 137; Anec- 
dotes of Painting, 2 54n.; his 
copies oi Discourses, 281, 285, 
288-290, 295, 296 

Ward, A., 290 

Warley, Essex, 95 

Warton, Joseph, 14, 116 

Watson, Caroline, 297, 299 

Webb, Daniel, 80 

Wells, Gabriel, 148, I77n., 

Wells and Lilly, 278 

West, Benjamin, 144, 250, 266, 
279-285, 288, 289, 295 

Weston, Miss, 9 

"Wheatly, Mr", 296 

White, bookseller of Dublin, 291 

Whitefoord, Caleb, 88, 283, 295 

Whitestone, bookseller of Dublin, 

Whitley, W. T., his letters to the 
Times, 2 5n.; his Artists and 
their Friends quoted or referred 
to, xii, xixn., 24, 34n., 69, 70, 
87, 88, I33n., I4in., i83n., 
185, i86n., 284 

Wilkes, John, 8, 293, 295, 296 

Williams, John ("Anthony Pas- 
quin"), xviin., 90, io6n. 

Wilson, bookseller of Dublin, 291 

Wilson, Richard, 243 n. 

Wilton, Joseph, 289 

Winckelmann, Johan Joachim, 64 

Windham, William, 92, 156, 
163, i87n., 194, i95n. 

Windsor, 2 57n. 

Woffington, Peg, 147 

Woolner, Thomas, 278 

World, The, 90, io6n., 189 

Woronzow, Count, 67 

Wright, Ernest, x 

Xenophon, 90 


Yale University Library, rare 
books in, 22, 119, 279-285, 
288, 289, 292-296; MSS. in, 
148, lyyn., 185 n.; mentioned, 
X, ii4n. 

Yates, Mrs Mary Ann, 29 
Yorke, Philip, 2nd Earl of Hard- 

wicke, 86 
Young, Edward, i 
Young, G. F., 52n. 

Zeuxis, 106, 108 

The literary career of Sir Jos mam 

828 6R463Yh 1967C2 

3 lEbE D33bS SSSS